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Ischemic Strokes and Their Causes

Ischemic Strokes

Ischemic stroke account for approximately 70% of strokes seen in the hospitals, while the remaining 30% are a mixture of transient ischemic attacks and hemorrhagic strokes.

The brain needs a constant supply of blood to work.  During a stroke, blood stops flowing to part of the brain.   A few minutes of oxygen deprivation called ischemia can kill millions of brain cells. The affected area is damaged.  Its functions are harmed or even lost.

What are common causes of an ischemic stroke?

An embolus is a blood clot that develops in a part of the body other than the brain (often the heart).  If this free-roaming clot becomes wedged in a brain artery, it causes what is called an embolic stroke.

A thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in an artery in the brain and remains attached to the artery wall until it grows large enough to block blood flow to part of the brain.   When this happens it’s called a thrombotic stroke.

Atherosclerosis is a build up of fatty deposit or plaque on the inside of the blood vessel wall.  As the plague grows, it narrows the blood vessel decreasing blood flow to the cells.  This narrowing of the blood vessels is a condition known as stenosis.