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Types of Stroke

image of three stroke brains

Unfortunately, strokes (sometimes called "brain attacks") can damage brain tissue in the outer part of the brain (the cortex) or deeper structures in the brain underneath the cortex. When this happens, partial or complete loss of function may occur. Prior to stroke, a person may experience a stroke event called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA should not be ignored because it could be an indicator of future stroke.

Approximately every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. A stroke can happen when the following occurs:

  • A blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This is called an ischemic stroke.
  • A blood vessel breaks open, causing blood to leak into the brain. This is called a hemorrhagic stroke.

If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.