Understanding Stroke

What is a stroke?

A stroke, or "brain attack," occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts. The brain cannot store oxygen, so it relies on a network of blood vessels to provide it with blood that is rich in oxygen. A stroke results in a lack of blood supply, causing surrounding nerve cells to be cut off from their supply of nutrients and oxygen. When tissue is cut off from its supply of oxygen for more than three to four minutes, it begins to die.

Types of stroke

Strokes can appear as hemorrhagic strokes, ischemic strokes or transient ischemic attacks.

What lasting effects can a stroke cause?

The effects of a stroke depend on the extent and the location of damage in the brain. Among the many types of disabilities that can result from a stroke are:

Why does a stroke affect different parts of the body?

Nerve cells in the brain tissue communicate with other cells to control functions including memory, speech and movement. When a stroke occurs, nerve cells in the brain tissue become injured. As a result of this injury, nerve cells cannot communicate with other cells, and functions are impaired. If a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, the left side of the body is affected, and vice versa.

How can stroke be prevented?

If you want a to prevent a stroke, you must understand the risk factors that lead to stroke as well as the strategies that are used to reduce stroke. Make sure that you know the warning signs. If you see stroke warning signs, call 9-1-1 or seek medical attention right away. Most of the stroke warning signs are painless:

References

 

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ or www.clevelandclinicflorida.org. This document was last reviewed on: 2/9/2016

index#5601