A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed in some way. As a result, brain cells are starved of oxygen causing some cells to die and leaving other cells damaged.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a short-term stroke that lasts for less than 24 hours. The oxygen supply to the brain is restored quickly, and symptoms of the stroke disappear completely. A transient stroke needs prompt medical attention as it is a warning of serious risk of a major stroke.
Cerebral thrombosis occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in an artery (blood vessel) supplying blood to the brain. Furred-up blood vessels with fatty patches of atheroma (arteriosclerosis) may make a thrombosis more likely. The clot interrupts the blood supply and brain cells are starved of oxygen.
Cerebral embolism is a blood clot that forms somewhere in the body before travelling through the blood vessels and lodging in the brain. This causes the brain cells to become starved of oxygen. An irregular heartbeat or recent heart attack may make you prone to forming emboli.
Cerebral haemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain and bleeds (haemorrhages). With a haemorrhage, extra damage is done to the brain tissue by the blood that seeps into it.
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