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What is a stroke or TIA?

What is a stroke?


A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. As a result brain cells are deprived of the oxygen and nutrients which they need. Some brain cells become damaged and others die.

There are two ways a stroke can happen:

  • When a blood clot blocks one of the arteries which carries blood to the brain. This type of stroke is referred to as an ischaemic stroke.
  • As a result of bleeding within or around the brain from a burst blood vessel. This type of stroke is referred to as a haemorrhagic stroke.

What is a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)?

A transient ischaemic attack is called a TIA for short.

  • The symptoms are very similar to those of a stroke but the difference is that they pass (transient).
  • Ischaemic is the term used to refer to insufficient blood supply.

A TIA can last for anything from minutes to hours. Symptoms do not last longer than 24 hours.

What is a minor stroke?

After 24 hours has elapsed, if symptoms persist, it becomes a ‘minor’ or ‘mini’ stroke.

  • The term minor is used because it refers to minimal damage.