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A stroke occurs in the brain when the blood supply is cut off, depriving the constituent brain cells from receiving oxygen and glucose; both of which are essential for survival. There are two ypes of stroke that can occur:

  1. ischemic
  2. haemorrhagic[1]

Ischemic strokes

Ischemic strokes account for 87% of all strokes and can be divided into thombotic or embolic strokes[2]. It often begins by fatty deposits in the inner walls of cerebral vessels, atheroclerosis, or by the build up of cholesterol deposits in the vessel, forming a plaque that obstructs the blood supply[3]. Blood cells can begin to collect at the damaged sites, forming blood clots resulting in cerebral thrombosis[4].

Alternatively the blood clot can form somewhere else in the body, usually the heart, but becomes dislodged causing it to travel the bloodstream until it blocks another blood vessel in or leading to the brain restricting the blood flow. This is an embolic stroke[5]

Haemorrhagic strokes

Haemorrhagic strokes occur when a cerebral artary bursts leading to bleeding within the brain preventing the brain cells from recieveing the oxygen and nutrients it requires, or it can be a subarachnoid haemorrhage which is when blood vessels on the surface of the brain burst casuing bleeding in subarachnoid space[6].


  1. NHS. 2012. Stroke. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 October 14].
  2. American Stroke Association. 9/11/2016. Isechemic Stoke(Clots).[ONLINE]. [Accessed 4/12/16]
  3. Stoke Center. Isechemic Stroke. [ONLINE]. [Accessed 4/12/16]
  4. Stoke Center. Isechemic Stroke. [ONLINE]. [Accessed 4/12/16]
  5. American Stroke Association. 9/11/2016. Isechemic Stoke(Clots).[ONLINE]. [Accessed 4/12/16]
  6. Stroke Association.Bleeding in the brain – haemorrhagic stroke. 2012. [ONLINE]. [Accessed 4/12/16]
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