A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to the brain. When this happens, brain cells begin to die, and the person's ability to speak, move and recall information can be affected.
Experts have identified three different types of stroke, each with different causes and effects:
Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 17 percent of stroke cases, according to the American Stroke Association. In this type of stroke, a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures. A number of disorders affecting the blood vessels, including arteriosclerosis and long-standing high blood pressure, can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. Two types of weakened blood vessels -- aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) -- can also cause hemorrhagic stroke.
This type of stroke accounts for about 83 percent of all cases, according to the American Stroke Association. If a heart or lung blood clot or heart valve plaque breaks free and travels to the brain, an ischemic stroke occurs.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
A TIA is sometimes called a "mini-stroke." It is usually due to a blockage caused by platelets clumping together. After a short time, the clumps break up, allowing the blood flow to resume and your symptoms disappear. TIA patients have a greater chance of experiencing a more significant stroke.