There are two types of stroke:

  1. Ischemic, either a result of a sudden blockage in one of the blood vessels carrying blood to the brain or in the brain, following an accumulation of sclerotic residue on the blood vessel walls or a blood clot from the heart or one of the main arteries. These are 90% of stroke cases.

  2. Hemmorhagic (bleeding), a result of a tear in one of the brain’s blood vessels causing blood to spill into the brain itself. Symptoms include weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, facial asymmetry, slurred speech and difficulties in expressing things and swallowing, double or blurred vision and usually severe headaches. Acute symptoms that will appear suddenly. When you do notice these symptoms, call for immediate medical help. Every minute without treatment means the death of 2 million brain cells!

The diagnosis is reached using CT simulation or CT angiography, and sometimes a brain MRI. In certain cases other tests – such as echocardiograms – will also be administered. Similarly, the patient may undergo Duplex and Doppler ultrasound tests for evaluating the state of the blood vessels. Brain catheterization may be needed.

Among the most common causes of strokes are: heart diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Genetic factors (a family history of strokes or vascular disease) can also influence a person’s chances. Rarer factors include excess clotting, blood vessel infections and blows to the neck and head. A combination of factors will obviously increase the risks.
Despite the fact that older people usually suffer from strokes (the average age is 69), children can also succumb to strokes for various reasons.