Types of Strokes

You’re going to hear a lot of words when you have a stroke.  Ischemic, hemorrhagic, embolic, thrombotic, lacunar….what do they all mean?  Well, I’ll tell you.  A stroke is caused when something happens to a blood vessel in or to the brain.  This can be due to a blood clot(ischemic stroke) or a bleed(hemorrhagic stroke).  Oxygen is carried in the blood so when something happens to an artery, that oxygen does not make it to the brain and the brain needs oxygen to work correctly.  If an artery is compromised for long enough or severely enough, you have a stroke.

Now, an ischemic stroke can be thrombotic, embolic or lacunar.  (More on lacunar strokes later).  A thrombus is a blood clot and an embolus is a blood clot that gets dislodged and moves around in the body.  So, a thrombotic stroke is caused by a blood clot in an artery that originated in/to the brain and an embolic stroke is caused by a blood clot that originated elsewhere in the body, dislodged and made its way to the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a vessel bleeding into the brain.  There is a hemorrhage in the brain and this needs to be treated very differently than a blood clot.  I have found that the term ‘hemorrhage’ is much preferable to the term ‘stroke.’  People generally don’t like to say they had a stroke.  Well, anytime there is a bleed in the brain that’s a stroke.

So then what’s a lacunar stroke?  I think of a lacunar stroke as a stroke that occurs really deep within the brain.  A lacunar stroke can be ischemic or hemorrhagic and happens to a smaller vessel deep within the brain.  Most strokes occur on the surface of the brain.

I had an ischemic stroke.  This is rare for a young person.  Everything that happened to me is pretty rare.  If a young person has a stroke usually it’s hemorrhagic, however ischemic strokes are more common as a whole.   No one knows where my clot originated so it could’ve been either thrombotic or embolic.  I hope to never have another blood clot.  🙂  Hope this was helpful!



Categories: Stroke stuff

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