`
READ OUT LOUD
PRINT PAGE
SEARCH

What is a stroke? 

A stroke happens when a blood vessel in your brain:

Gets blocked and stops the flow of blood to the brainThis is called an ischemic stroke.

Picture of ischemic stroke. Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

Bursts or bleeds in or around the brain. This is called a hemorrhagic stroke

 

Picture of hemorrhagic stroke. Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

 

What happens during a stroke?

Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the body.  A burst or blocked blood vessel stops blood from reaching some parts of the brain. With no blood flow, parts of the brain will be damaged or die. The effects of a stroke will depend on where and how much of the brain was damaged. Learn about the functions of the brain here.

 

What is a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)? 

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) happens when there is a temporary stoppage of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. The symptoms are like a stroke but only lasts less than 24 hours. This is often called a mini-stroke. It is a warning sign that you may have a stroke.

 

What causes a stroke

Why did I have a stroke?  

A stroke often happens without warning signs. 

There are some things that make it more likely that someone will have a stroke:

 

Signs of a stroke  

Are there warning signs before a stroke happens?

For most people a stroke happens suddenly.

 

What are the signs of a TIA or stroke?

The 3 signs to look for are:

  • Face – Is it drooping?
  • Arms – Can you raise them?
  • Speech – Is it slurred or jumbled?

If you notice any of these warning signs, call 911 right away. 

 

A glossary of terms is available to help you find the meaning of common words related to stroke care

 

Where to learn more about this topic:  

 

Toronto Central Healthline

What is a stroke

Aphasia Institute

Stroke and Aphasia