A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted due to the presence of a blood clot (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells (hemorrhagic stroke). When blood flow to the brain stops, brain cells no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood and die. Sudden bleeding in or around the brain can also cause brain cells to die. This results in temporary or permanent neurologic impairment. Ischemic stroke, also known as cerebral infarction, accounts for 80 to 85% of all strokes, while hemorrhagic stroke accounts for the other 15 to 20%.

Prior to a stroke, some people suffer transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), mini strokes that generally last only 5 to 20 minutes, but can linger for up to 24 hours before the symptoms go away completely. Many times, a TIA is a warning of an impending stroke. Stroke remains one of the most serious of all health problems. Half of stroke sufferers are left disabled, with many undergoing years of rehabilitation.

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Review Date: 2/4/2016  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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