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Stroke Diagnosis

Types of Stroke

There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery is blocked by a blood clot. This type of stroke may result from clogged arteries, called atherosclerosis. When fat, cholesterol and other substances collect on the artery walls, they form a sticky substance called plaque, which over time builds up and makes it hard for blood to flow properly to the brain.

Hemorrhagic

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open (a brain aneurysm), causing blood to leak into the brain.

Stroke Symptoms

Common symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Blurred vision, brief blindness, or double vision
  • Severe headache (typically seen with hemorrhagic stroke)
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Difficulty writing or reading
  • Temporary memory problems
  • Muscle weakness on one side of your body
  • Vertigo (like the room is spinning) and dizziness
  • Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
  • Strange sensations, such as burning or tingling
  • Trouble with coordination, clumsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • New or changed headache

What to Do

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately contact 911. 

For urgent consultations, please contact the Memorial Hermann-TMC page operator at (713) 704-4000 and ask to page the neurologist on call.

Risk Factors for Stroke

In many cases, a stroke can be prevented. Certain diseases or conditions increase your risk of stroke. Some risk factors for stroke include those you can and cannot change.

These factors include:

  • Atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk for stroke compared to people without diabetes.  The circulation problems associated with this disease may be responsible for poorer outcomes in people with diabetes following stroke.
  • Family history of stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk for strokes.
  • High cholesterol. High cholesterol can lead to hardening of your arteries (atherosclerosis), which can result in clogged arteries.
  • Smoking. Smoking increases the risk of most types of strokes.
  • Obesity
  • Diet. People who eat more fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains may have a lower risk of stroke that people who eat lots of refined grains, red meat and increased sodium levels.
  • Illegal drug use, such as cocaine
  • The use of some medications, such as birth control pills, can increase the chance of blood clots in women.

Become familiar with your stroke risk factors and learn the symptoms of a stroke. Acting FAST can help save your life or the life of a loved one.

Symptoms of a stroke vary depending on the type of stroke and what part of the brain is damaged.