Skip to content

    Stroke Health Center

    Select An Article
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    What Happens

    When you have an ischemic stroke, the oxygen-rich blood supply to part of your brain is reduced. With a hemorrhagic stroke, there is bleeding in the brain.

    After about 4 minutes without blood and oxygen, brain cells become damaged and may die. The body tries to restore blood and oxygen to the cells by enlarging other blood vessels (arteries) near the area.

    Recommended Related to Stroke

    Vascular Dementia

    Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia in older people. Because it has a lower profile than Alzheimer's, many people don't suspect vascular dementia when forgetfulness becomes problematic. It's also difficult to diagnose so it's difficult to know exactly how many people suffer from vascular dementia. Current estimates attribute 15% to 20% of dementia cases in older adults to vascular dementia. Determining the root cause can help determine the best action plan. If it's...

    Read the Vascular Dementia article > >

    If blood supply isn't restored, permanent damage usually occurs. The body parts controlled by those damaged cells cannot function.

    This loss of function may be mild or severe. It may be temporary or permanent. It depends on where and how much of the brain is damaged and how fast the blood supply can be returned to the affected cells. Life-threatening complications may also occur. This is why it's important to get treatment as soon as possible.

    Recovery

    Recovery depends on the location and amount of brain damage caused by the stroke, the ability of other healthy areas of the brain to take over for the damaged areas, and rehabilitation. In general, the less damage there is to the brain tissue, the less disability results and the greater the chances of a successful recovery.

    Stroke is the most common nervous-system-related cause of physical disability. Of people who survive a stroke, half will still have some disability 6 months after the stroke.

    You have the greatest chance of regaining your abilities during the first few months after a stroke. Regaining some abilities, such as speech, comes slowly, if at all. About half of all people who have a stroke will have some long-term problems with talking, understanding, and decision-making. They also may have changes in behavior that affect their relationships with family and friends.

    After a stroke, you (or a caregiver) may also notice:

    Long-term problems

    Long-term complications of a stroke, such as depression and pneumonia, may develop right away or months to years after a stroke.

    Some long-term problems may be prevented with proper home treatment and medical follow-up. For more information, see Home Treatment.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    brain illustration stroke
    Know these 5 signs.
    brain scans
    Test your stroke smarts.
     
    woman with migraine
    Is there a link?
    brain scan
    Get the facts.
     
    brain scans
    Quiz
    woman with migraine
    Article
     
    brain scan
    Article
    headache
    Video
     
    senior man stretching pre workout
    Article
    Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
    Article
     
    concerned woman
    Article
    Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW