What is the Most Common Cause of Acute Stroke?

When a blood vessel in the brain bursts or the blood flow to a specific part of the brain is suddenly disrupted, this marks the onset of an acute stroke. As a result of this disruption in blood flow, brain cells die due to lack of oxygen and nutrients. Early recognition of stroke is essential in order to prevent permanent disability, cognitive deterioration and even death. Medical attention must be received immediately. Stroke problems, such as brain damage can be minimised by receiving emergency medical attention promptly.

There are two primary kinds of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. About 87% of all strokes are the ischemic type, which occurs when particles such as clots or fat deposits block the arteries supplying the brain. On the other hand, if an internal blood vessel of the brain splits or ruptures, it causes hemorrhagic stroke. There are many diseases that affect the blood vessels and can result in internal bleeding in the brain, also known as brain haemorrhage. It is crucial to understand the differences between these types, acute stroke symptomatology, and treatments to enhance the efficiency of stroke management and patients’ outcomes.

Causes of Acute Stroke

Ischemic Stroke

Blood clots are usually the cause of ischemic strokes. These may occur for several causes, including:

  • Thrombosis: Development of a blood clot in a blood vessel in the brain.
  • Embolism: A clot that travels from another part of the body (often the heart) to the brain.
  • Atherosclerosis: Accumulation of cholesterol and fatty deposits on the arterial walls, causing the arteries to shrink and eventually clog.
  • Lacunar Infarcts: Small vessel disease resulting in blockages in the tiny arteries in the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

Hemorrhagic strokes can also happen for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Intracerebral Haemorrhage: Bleeding within the brain itself, often due to high blood pressure or trauma.
  • Subarachnoid Haemorrhage: Bleeding that often results from a ruptured aneurysm and occurs in the area between the brain and the surrounding membrane.

Other Contributing Factors

A number of other conditions and factors can also influence a person’s risk of stroke. Among them are:

  • Hypertension: An increased risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes results from persistently high blood pressure, which damages blood vessels.
  • Atrial Fibrillation: An irregular heart rhythm, leading to the development of blood clots in the heart, which can then travel to the brain.
  • Diabetes: Increases the risk of stroke by accelerating atherosclerosis.
  • Headaches caused by migraines: People who get migraines, particularly those with auras, are more likely to experience a stroke at some time in their lives. These headaches can also resemble stroke symptoms.
  • High Cholesterol: This leads to the formation of plaques in the arteries.
  • Smoking: Disrupts blood vessels and raises blood pressure.
  • Obesity: Associated with hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use: Excessive consumption can lead to hypertension and damage blood vessels.

Symptoms of Acute Stroke

Stroke symptoms may vary depending on which part of the brain is injured. Different parts of the brain regulate various functions. Recognising acute stroke symptoms is crucial for timely medical intervention. Stroke symptoms can involve one or more of the following:

  • Abrupt Weakness or Numbness usually affects the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body.
  • Aphasia is the inability or lack of capacity to speak.
  • Sudden loss of one or more senses (hearing, taste, smell, vision, and touch), either entirely or partially.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Double eyesight or blurry vision (diplopia).
  • Stiffness in the neck.
  • Headaches are often intense and rapid.
  • Unstable emotions and shifts in personality.
  • Agitation or confusion.
  • Unconsciousness or fainting.
  • Amnesia, or memory loss.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma.


Acute stroke can result in several serious side effects that negatively affect the patient’s general health and quality of life. Key potential complications include:

  • Paralysis: Loss of muscle movement in parts of the body, often one side.
  • Speech Difficulties: Problems with speaking or understanding language (aphasia).
  • Cognitive Impairments: A common side effect of stroke is some memory loss. Some people could struggle with comprehension, judgement, reasoning, and thinking.
  • Emotional Changes: Depression, anxiety, or personality changes.
  • Pain and Numbness: The areas of the body affected by a stroke may experience pain, numbness, or other sensations.
  • Swallowing Issues: The mouth and throat muscles may be impacted by a stroke. This might make it difficult to swallow, eat, or talk clearly. 

When is it Time to Consult a Doctor?

If you experience any stroke symptoms, get medical help right away, even if they only hardly or never show up at all. Keep in mind the term “FAST” and carry out the subsequent actions:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Check to see if the face droops on one side.
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Check if one arm drifts downward or if one arm is unable to rise.
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Keep an ear out for any odd speech patterns or slurred speaking.
  • Time: If any of these signs are present, ask for emergency medical help immediately.

Acute Stroke treatment

The goals of treating acute stroke are to manage symptoms, stop more strokes from happening, and get blood flowing back to the brain. The acute stroke therapy differs according to whether the stroke is hemorrhagic or ischemic.

Ischemic Stroke Treatment

Restoring blood supply to the brain promptly is necessary for the treatment of an ischemic stroke. This might be done using:

  • Emergency IV medication: Within 4.5 hours after the onset of symptoms, an IV medication capable of dissolving a clot must be administered. It is best to provide the medication as soon as possible. For the treatment of ischemic stroke, intravenous injection of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is the gold standard.
  • Emergency endovascular procedures: In some instances, medical practitioners treat ischemic strokes by opening the blocked blood artery directly. After an ischemic stroke, endovascular treatment has been demonstrated to enhance results and lessen long-term impairment. 
  • Other procedure: A technique to widen an artery that has been constricted by plaque can be suggested by the doctor you see. Options differ, but they include stents, angioplasty, and carotid endarterectomy.

Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment

The goal of emergency treatment for hemorrhagic stroke is to stop the bleeding as soon as possible and lower the pressure that extra fluid is putting on the brain.

  • Emergency measures: You may get treatment to offset the effects of blood thinners if you take them to avoid blood clots. Medication or blood products transfusions are some of these treatments. Additionally, medications can reduce blood pressure, prevent blood vessel spasms, lessen brain pressure, and stop seizures.
  • Surgical Intervention: Procedures to repair the blood vessel, such as clipping or coiling of aneurysms or removal of blood from the brain to relieve pressure.


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing modifiable risk factors are key components in preventing acute stroke. Key strategies include:

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure through diet, exercise, and medication.
  • Keep blood sugar levels in check with proper treatment and lifestyle changes.
  • Eliminate tobacco use to improve vascular health.
  • Intake of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Do physical exercises to maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular health.
  • Drink in moderation to prevent hypertension.
  • Adhere to prescribed anticoagulants or antiplatelets if at high risk.

These preventive measures not only lower the risk of acute stroke but also contribute to long-term brain health, reducing the likelihood of chronic stroke. Understanding the differences between chronic stroke and acute stroke highlights the importance of early intervention and sustained health management for optimal recovery and stroke prevention.

Omni Hospital is a state-of-the-art healthcare facility that has carved a niche for itself in providing total health and patient-focused services. We provide specialised and prompt care for acute stroke patients with a dedicated stroke unit and cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment technology. Known for our quick response team and sophisticated stroke management guidelines, we aim to meet the immediate needs of patients with immediate treatment options available. With the help of skilled neurologists, neurosurgeons, and rehabilitation professionals, our interdisciplinary approach offers comprehensive care to maximise treatment results.