Ischemic stroke: What is it? Symptoms, Risk Factors, Causes and Treatment

ACV = Stroke, is a  cerebral vascular disease.

The ischemic stroke is the lack of blood in a region of the brain due to a blockage in a brain blood vessel, which can cause serious consequences or even death of the person, if not rescued in time.

Transient ischemic stroke is a less severe type of ischemic stroke and occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted for a short period of time. The symptoms of transient ischemic stroke are felt for a short time, between 1 and 2 hours, disappearing within 24 hours.

Ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke

The difference between ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke are:

Ischemic stroke: occurs due to lack of blood in the brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke: occurs due to extravasation of blood in the brain.
The symptoms are similar in both types of stroke, because of the bleeding, patients can feel the pressure inside the head.

The treatment of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke is different. In the first case, the goal is to resolve the blockage of the artery that causes the stroke, while in the second case the treatment is done to prevent cerebral hemorrhage.

The symptoms of a stroke

The symptoms of a stroke develop in a matter of minutes and can be:

  • Very strong headaches.
  • The loss of strength or paralysis of one side of the body.
  • Difficulty speaking and lack of understanding.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Visual changes, dizziness and crooked mouth.

Risk factor’s

There are several risk factors for ischemic stroke, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease , high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes or overweight.

The diagnosis of ischemic stroke can be made by analyzing the patient’s symptoms or by imaging tests such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.

Causes of ischemic stroke

The causes of ischemic stroke are related to changes in blood flow and can be: atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia, diseases of heart valves, endocarditis, alterations in blood clotting, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction. Low blood pressure can also cause an ischemic stroke, since it reduces the flow of blood to the brain and causes narrowing of the cerebral arteries.


The treatment of ischemic stroke may include the use of drugs such as alteplase (thrombolytic), which destroys thrombus, aspirin and clopidogrel.

Surgery can be indicated as a treatment for ischemic stroke in severe cases, and aims to remove thrombi from the arteries, relieve blood pressure or revascularization of the arteries.

Physical therapy can be recommended for patients with ischemic stroke to help treat the sequelae of stroke and the control of risk factors is essential for treatment, as well as the prevention of new ischemic strokes.