Causes of strokes

There are two main causes of strokes:

  • ischaemic - where the blood supply is stopped because of a blocked blood vessel, accounting for 85% of all cases
  • haemorrhagic - where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts
  • there's also a condition called Transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted

This causes a mini-stroke, often lasting between a few minutes and several hours. TIA's should be treated urgently. They're often a warning sign that you're at risk of having a full stroke in the near future. Seek medical advice as soon as possible, even if your symptoms resolve.

Certain conditions can increase the risk of having a stoke, these include:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • high cholesterol
  • atrial fibrillation
  • diabetes

You can find more information about strokes on the NHS website: