Basic Facts

  • A stroke is the interruption of the blood supply to the brain that is caused by a blockage or bleeding in the brain.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of permanent disability in the United States.
  • Many of the risk factors for stroke can be controlled or eliminated.

There are two types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke, when an artery to the brain becomes blocked, and
  • Hemorrhagic stroke, when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain.

Ischemic stroke is the most common type. Blockages can occur if major arteries in the neck or the arteries in the brain become blocked by plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) or blood clots. Some strokes are hemorrhagic. In hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel inside the brain leaks or bursts. Hemorrhagic strokes are more deadly than ischemic strokes.  If the brain lacks sufficient blood for a long enough period of time, brain damage or death can result.

Stroke FAQ