Signs of a stroke include visual disturbances in one or both eyes, loss of balance or coordination when walking, slurred speech or inability to comprehend speech, and paralysis or numbness in the face or a limb, according to Mayo Clinic. Dizziness, confusion, headache and vomiting are also possible stroke symptoms.
When the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients due to a disruption in the blood flow, brain cells may die and a stroke occurs, states Mayo Clinic. A blocked artery causes an ischemic stroke; 85 percent of strokes are ischemic. A thrombotic stroke is the result of a blood clot that forms in a brain artery, reducing blood flow. Atherosclerosis is a common cause of thrombotic strokes. An embolic stroke occurs when a clot forms elsewhere in the body, often in the heart, and flows through the blood to lodge in the brain arteries.
A hemorrhagic stroke is the result of a blood vessel that has burst or is leaking, explains Mayo Clinic. Hypertension is one cause of a hemorrhagic stroke. A transient ischemic attack, or a mini stroke, is a temporary cessation of blood flow to the brain, usually lasting less than five minutes and leaving no permanent symptoms. Individuals who experience transient ischemic attacks are at risk for having more severe strokes because they indicate the probable presence of a block in the brain artery or a clot in the heart.