Unfortunately, strokes are rather common. While certain risk factors can make people more likely to have strokes, a stroke can happen to anyone at any age. There are three main types of strokes:
Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. According to the CDC, 87% of strokes are ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked. The blockage reduces the blood flow and oxygen to the brain, leading to brain damage. The main cause of an ischemic stroke is fatty deposits lining the walls of the blood vessel, causing a blood clot. Fatty deposits in the blood vessel can cause a type of obstruction called cerebral thrombosis which is a blood clot that develops at the location of the fatty plaque within the blood vessel. The two subcategories of ischemic stroke are:
- Thrombotic Ischemic Stroke – a thrombotic ischemic stroke occurs when an artery becomes blocked by a blood clot which forms at that location and prevents blood flow from reaching the brain.
- Embolic Ischemic Stroke – an embolic ischemic stroke is when a blood clot forms in an artery in another part of the body, breaks free, and travels through the blood vessels until it becomes lodged elsewhere and restricts blood flow to the brain.
Hemorrhagic strokes are the second most common types of strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. Hemorrhagic strokes can be caused by arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) or by an aneurysm, which is when an artery is stretched and bursts. They can also be caused by trauma to the head. The two types of hemorrhagic strokes are:
- Intracerebral hemorrhage – an intracerebral hemorrhage is the more common of the hemorrhagic strokes and occurs within the brain when an artery bursts and the blood floods the surrounding tissue.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage – a subarachnoid hemorrhage is when there is bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it. These occur commonly as a result of trauma, especially in patients who are anticoagulated.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is referred to as a “mini-stroke” and should be regarded as a warning sign for a future stroke. A transient ischemic attack is when blood flow to the brain is blocked for a short period of time. According to the CDC, over one-third of people who have a transient ischemic attack and do not receive treatment have a major stroke within 1 year. Additionally, between 10-15% of people who have a transient ischemic attack will have a major stroke within three months.
Symptoms and Risk Factors of Strokes
A stroke is a serious medical emergency that if not treated promptly, and correctly, may be fatal. That is why it is important to be aware of the warning signs and take immediate action to ensure you or your loved ones make it to a hospital as soon as possible. The acronym FAST is used to identify the signs and symptoms of a stroke and when to seek emergency care.
- Face Drooping – numbness or droopiness on one side of the face
- Arm Weakness – weakness or numbness in one arm
- Speech – slurred speech; difficult to understand
- Time to Call 911 – If a person exhibits these symptoms, it’s time to call 911 and get them to a hospital immediately.
In order to prevent lasting damage from a stroke, or death, it is extremely important for physicians to follow the standard of care when evaluating and treating patients who have suffered a stroke. If you or a family member have recently suffered a stroke which you believe was not timely diagnosed and treated by a physician or hospital, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Bonner Law at 305-676-8800 for a free consultation. We have over 30 years of experience representing patients and healthcare providers in medical malpractice litigation.