Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Stroke Underlying Cause

A stroke is caused by an interruption in blood supply to an area of the brain. The brain is very sensitive to any interruption in blood flow. Brain cells begin to die within minutes of losing their supply of oxygen and glucose. The interruption of blood flow can occur by one of two mechanisms.

Stroke mechanisms:

Stroke Hemorrhagic

Causes of a hemorrhagic stroke include:

Stroke Ischemic

Causes of ischemic strokes include:

  • Atherosclerosis:
    • Block the blood flow through the artery
  • Blood clots:
    • Form in another location in the body, and become stuck in the brain arteries.

Continue to Stroke Types

Last Updated: Jan 5, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Stroke References
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  4. Kim H, Friedlander Y, Longstreth WT Jr, Edwards KL, Schwartz SM, Siscovick DS. Family history as a risk factor for stroke in young women. Am J Prev Med. 2004 Dec;27(5):391-6. [15556739]
  5. Sacco RL, Sivenius J, Diener HC. Efficacy of aspirin plus extended-release dipyridamole in preventing recurrent stroke in high-risk populations. Arch Neurol. 2005 Mar;62(3):403-8. [15767505]
  6. Smeeth L, Thomas SL, Hall AJ, Hubbard R, Farrington P, Vallance P. Risk of myocardial infarction and stroke after acute infection or vaccination. N Engl J Med. 2004 Dec 16;351(25):2611-8. [15602021]
  7. Weber MA. Managing the patient at risk for a second stroke. J Hypertens Suppl. 2005 Apr;23(1):S41-7. [15821451]
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