A stroke is an attack on the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel (also called artery) ruptures while bringing oxygen and blood to the brain. When this occurs, the brain cells immediately die due to lack of oxygen.

Types of Stroke

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Considered a mini-stroke, and precedes about 15% of all strokes. A TIA happens when an artery is blocked by a blood clot for a short period of time, and the blood flow to an area of the brain is stopped or slowed down. Symptoms, while not permanent, may include numbness, difficulty speaking, and loss of coordination.

Ischemic Stroke

Occurs when a blood clot is blocking an artery, limiting the flow of oxygen which is not reaching the brain cells. Without oxygen reaching the brain, brain cells will begin to die. This type of stroke is the most common and accounts.

  • Embolic ischemic stroke – blood clot or plaque moves through the bloodstream and reaches the brain.
  • Thrombotic ischemic stroke – blood clot blocks an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
  • System hypoperfusion – the heart stops pumping and not enough blood reaches the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A more serious type of stroke, where the fatality rate is higher and prognosis is poorer. This happens with a blood vessel bursts and blood spills into the brain. A brain aneurysm or a weakened blood vessel leak usually occurs in this type of stroke.

  • Intracerebral hemorrhage – is a blood vessel that bursts and bleeds deep into brain tissue.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – the blood vessel bursts near the surface of the brain and blood pours into the area between the brain and skull.
  • Aneurysm – a weak spot on the wall of an artery that may balloon or buldge out and burst, leaking blood into or outside of the brain.
  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – it consists of a tangle of abnormal vessels connecting arteries and veins with no normal intervening brain tissue.

Symptoms of a Stroke

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

Treatment for a Stroke

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone you know experiences these warning signs. It’s critical to diagnose a stroke as soon as possible as the treatment for stroke depends on the type and source of the stroke, location of the injury to the brain and how long the brain tissue has been without blood supply.

FAST stroke



This page is intended to be educational, but does not take the place of your physician or surgeon’s advice for your specific procedure or treatment. You should always consult with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

Call Michigan Head & Spine Institute at 248-784-3667.


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