All strokes are not the same. Different types of strokes call for different treatment.

A stroke can affect a person in many ways. Some put a person into a coma. Some are partial, affecting only one side of the body, or an arm or a leg.Clinically these strokes arise from two conditions – reduced blood supply to the brain, called ischemic stroke, or bleeding in the brain substance or in the coverings of the brain called hemorrhagic stroke.

Understanding Ischemic strokes

Ischemic strokes occur when blood supply to the brain is blocked by blood clots or other particles. The most common ischemic strokes are:

  • Thrombotic stroke: This type of stroke occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to the brain. This process can occur within one of the two carotid arteries of the neck that carry blood to the brain, as well as in other arteries. An ischemic stroke may also be caused by plaques that completely clog or narrow an artery. This narrowing is called stenosis
  • Embolic stroke: A clot or other particle from heart or neck vessel lodges in brain blood vessel and causes a stroke.
Understanding Hemorrhagic strokes

“Hemorrhage” is the medical word for bleeding. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures. Hemorrhages can result from a number of conditions :

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Brain Aneurysms (Bulge in brain blood vessel)
  • Rupture of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) — a malformed tangle of thin-walled blood vessels

There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage: High blood pressure can cause small arteries inside the brain to rupture. Blood spills into the surrounding brain tissue, damaging cells. Brain cells beyond the leak are deprived of blood and are also damaged.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: In this type of stroke, blood from a ruptured blood vessel spills into the coverings of the brain. Patients have a sudden, severe “thunderclap” headache. After subarachnoid hemorrhage, vessels may go into vasospasm, a condition in which arteries near the hemorrhage constrict erratically, causing brain cell damage by blocking blood flow to portions of the brain.
When to seek medical advice

If you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke or TIA, get medical help right away. A TIA may seem like a passing event. But it is an important warning sign – and a chance to take steps that may prevent a stroke.If someone appears to be having a stroke, watch the person carefully while waiting for an ambulance.

You may need to take additional actions in the following situations:

  • If breathing ceases, begin resuscitation.
  • If vomiting occurs, turn the person’s head to the side. This can prevent choking.
  • Don’t let the person eat or drink anything.

? Every minute counts when it comes to treating a stroke or TIA. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the damage and potential for disability. The success of most treatments depends on how soon a person is seen by a doctor in a hospital emergency room after signs and symptoms begin.

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