A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a ruptured blood vessel or is obstructed by plaque build up or clots. When a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain becomes blocked by or bursts, part of the brain cannot get the blood it needs, and brain cells die.
There are two types of strokes. An ischemic stroke is caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain. You may have also heard of a TIA or transient ischemic attack. A TIA is sometimes called a “mini-stroke” and is caused by a temporary clot. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing adequate blood flow to the brain.
TIAs are usually temporary, lasting a few minutes to a few hours. All TIAs should be treated as serious medical emergencies that require immediate treatment.
The carotid arteries are the two main arteries that carry blood from your heart, up through your neck, to your brain.