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Types of Stroke and Stroke Risks

There are three major types of strokes:

Ischemic Stroke
Ischemic stroke is by far the most common type of stroke, accounting for approximately 80-90% of all strokes. Ischemic stroke refers to a situation in which a region of the brain is deprived of blood flow (ischemia), which deprives brain cells of oxygen and essential nutrients, leading to death of brain cells. Learn more about ischemic stroke.

Transient Ischemic Attack
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) has similar symptoms to an ischemic stroke, but the symptoms clear up completely, usually within an hour. TIAs do not leave evidence of damaged tissue on imaging studies. In a TIA, a blockage occurs in an artery in the brain that impairs flow like in an ischemic stroke, but the blockage is reversed without intervention so that the brain tissue does not have permanent damage. Most TIAs last only five or ten minutes. TIA may precede a stroke by days or weeks and represent a serious warning sign. Because TIA’s are caused by the same mechanisms that cause stroke, patients with TIA’s should undergo a comprehensive evaluation quickly, to determine the cause and start treatment to help prevent stroke.

Hemorrhagic Stroke
A hemorrhagic stroke is bleeding in the brain. This type of stroke occurs when small blood vessels in the brain burst. The blood flow from the burst vessel damages brain cells. Two types of weakened blood vessels that typically cause hemorrhagic stroke are aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Learn more about hemorrhagic stroke.

Stroke in young adults and children

Up to 10% of strokes may occur in relatively young individuals (under 45 years of age) and represent a challenge in terms of diagnosis and treatment. The cerebrovascular team at Johns Hopkins has expertise in the diagnosis and management of a variety of uncommon conditions which may occur in young adults, such as arterial dissection, vasculitis, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome(RCVS), cerebral vein thrombosis and moya-moya syndrome. Our child neurology service has expertise in the evaluation of children with stroke. Conditions that put children at risk for stroke include sickle cell disease, congenital heart defects, cerebral arteriopathy, and congenital and acquired thrombophilias.

Understanding stroke risk factors

Risk factors are traits or behaviors that increase a person’s chance of developing a disease. Stroke risk factors are divided into two categories- those than can be modified and those that cannot be modified. The more risk factors that a patient has, the higher their risk of stroke.

Learn more about stroke risk factors.

For more information, contact The Johns Hopkins Hospital Stroke Center at 410-955-2228.
If you have questions about the Stroke Prevention and Recovery Center, please call us at 443-287-8514.


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photo of Dr. Victor Urrutia The Stroke Prevention Connection, written by Dr. Urrutia, provides information on stroke treatment, prevention and rehabilitation.


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