An attack that occurs in the brain is called a stroke. Just like a heart attack that takes place in a heart, a stroke occurs in the brain. It is a medical emergency that cannot be delayed for long. Hence, the patient has to be rushed for medical help on an immediate basis. A stroke is a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) that occurs due to the shortage of blood supply to a part of the brain, resulting in the death of the brain cells. When the supply of blood is disrupted to the brain, due to a blood clot, a ruptured artery or a blood vessel, oxygen and glucose too aren’t delivered, thereby creating complications and a stroke. With inadequate supply of blood to the brain cells, they aren’t able to work, thereby losing control over the body part under their power. Read on further to find out the different causes of a stroke.
Common Causes Of A Stroke
The most common cause of a stroke is artery blockage due to a clot. This is known as thrombosis. This type of stroke occurs when the blood and oxygen is supplied by a clotted blood vessel, resulting in the shortage. This results in the death of a part of the brain cells. The formation of a clot in the blood vessels occurs due to various factors, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.
A blood clot or a piece of atherosclerotic plaque, calcium and cholesterol deposits on the walls of the inside of the heart or artery can sometimes break and travel in the open arteries of the brain, thereby accumulating there. Oxygen-rich blood is restricted from entering the brain, resulting in an embolic stroke. Although such clots usually remain attached to the inner lining of the heart, they occasionally break off causing a stroke.
A cerebral hemorrhage is caused due to the rupturing of a blood vessel in the brain that causes bleeding in the surrounding brain tissue. Due to shortage of blood and oxygen supple to some parts of the brain, a stroke occurs. This blood, sometimes, irritates the swelling up the brain tissue, known as cerebral edema.
The space below the arachnoid membrane lining the brain is filled with blood entering from an abnormal blood vessel that leaks or ruptures. Most often, this occurs due to aneurysm, a condition wherein an abnormal balloon forms out of the wall of the vessel. Subarachnoid hemorrhages are severe in nature causing sudden, severe headaches and stiff necks. If not recognized and ignored, these can even lead to coma, or even death.
People suffering from migraine headaches are also likely to suffer from strokes. Since the brain blood vessels narrow during a migraine or vascular headache, strokes can result in problems like loss of function of one side of the body, vision or speech.