What is a Stroke?

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States, behind diseases of the heart and cancer. Each year more than 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.

Stroke Types

Ischemic Stroke

There are two basic types of strokes. The most common (87%) is an ischemic stroke where a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked by plaque or a blood clot and prevents oxygen and blood from getting to the area of the brain. When this occurs, within 4-6 minutes blood vessels begin to die. Every minute after a stroke 1.9 million brain cells die.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

The other type of stroke is hemorrhagic or bleeding type of stroke, which occurs 13% of the time and can occur because of an aneurysm that ruptured or a weak blood vessel in the brain that ruptured.