Stroke: Brain Attack
During a stroke, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. This is why immediate medical attention is necessary.
There are two major kinds of stroke.
The most common is called an ischemic stroke, which are caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. These types of strokes may be treated with a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which dissolves blood clots, if patients receive care within 4.5 hours of the stroke.
The second major type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by a blood vessel breaking and bleeding into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes cannot be treated with tPA. Instead, surgery is often performed to help relieve the pressure or blood clots caused by this type of stroke. In both cases, time is of the essence for successful treatment.