In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.

Stroke: Key Q&A

Reviewed By: Andrew Biondo, D.O.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a life-threatening event in which part of the brain is deprived of adequate oxygen. A stroke can cause oxygen-starved brain cells to die within minutes, and damage can continue for several days afterward. The condition must be treated immediately. A stroke is also known as a cerebrovascular accident or a "brain attack."

How dangerous is a stroke?

Strokes are extremely dangerous, accounting for more than 160,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. It is also a leading cause of adult disability and institutionalization. Each year, about 700,000 people suffer strokes. Of those, 500,000 are first-time strokes.

Are all strokes the same?

No. There are two kinds of strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, usually by a blood clot. These clots may be caused by "hardening of the arteries" in the carotid arteries, which feed the head and brain with oxygen-rich blood. The second kind of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when there is bleeding into or around the brain. Strokes can also have a variety of severities.

What is the difference between a "mini-stroke" and a "little stroke?"

A transient ischemic attack or "mini-stroke" is different from a "little stroke." A mini-stroke tends to produce transient symptoms of stroke without causing permanent damage because the oxygen flow to the brain is only temporarily interrupted. Whereas, a little stroke will cause permanent damage, but only in a very small part of the brain.

page 1 of 4 | Next Page



News from Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Helpful tips and information on health and weight loss

Get the information you need


Home  |  Health Centers  |  Health A-Z  |  Staying Healthy  |  Diet & Fitness  |  Woman & Family  |   |   |  

also on iVision:  |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

 |   |  Site Map  |   | 

Copyright (c) 2000-2009 iVision Inc. All rights reserved. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.