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What is stroke?

Stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is either interrupted or reduced. When this happens, the brain does not get enough oxygen or nutrients which causes brain cells to die.

Skull with red to indicate stroke

Strokes occur due to problems with the blood supply to the brain; either the blood supply is blocked or a blood vessel within the brain ruptures. A stroke is a medical emergency, and treatment must be sought as quickly as possible.

There are three main kinds of stroke; ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), also referred to as mini-strokes. There is a separate Knowledge Center page for transient ischemic attacks.

This Medical News Today information page will give you the essential details about stroke, describe what it is, what causes it, who gets the problem and the symptoms they have, how it is diagnosed, and offer an overview of treatment options for people with stroke.

You will also see introductions at the end of some sections to any recent developments that have been covered by MNT’s news stories. Also look out for links to information about related conditions.

Here are some key points about stroke.

1.During a stroke, the brain does not receive enough oxygen or nutrients, causing brain cells to die.
2.There are three main kinds of stroke: ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes and transient ischemic attacks.
3.Ischemic strokes are caused by a narrowing or blocking of arteries to the brain.
4.Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by blood vessels in and around the brain bursting or leaking.
5.Strokes need to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible in order to minimize damage to brain cells.
6.Remembering the F.A.S.T. acronym can help with recognizing the onset of stroke.
7.Treatment depends on the type of stroke, and this can only be confirmed with scanning.
8.Ischemic strokes can be treated with ‘clot-busting’ drugs.
9.Hemorrhagic strokes can be treated with surgery to repair or block blood vessel weaknesses.
10.The best way to prevent strokes is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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