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Stroke & TIA


Stroke is a leading cause of impairment in older adults and the third leading cause of death in the United States.

When a person has a stroke, the blood flow to part of the brain stops or is dramatically reduced.

Types of stroke

There are two types of strokes.

  • Ischemic strokes are caused when a blood clot blocks an artery or vessel in the brain. Eighty percent of strokes are ischemic strokes.
  • A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks and bleeds in the brain. During either type of stroke, cells in the brain do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need and start to die.

Symptoms of Stroke

There are many early warning signs of a stroke and recognizing the signs can save your life.

Signs of stroke include:

  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on one or both sides of the body
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements
  • Sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Temporary dizziness, loss of balance or an unexpected fall
  • Sudden severe headache or vomiting

Call 9-1-1 if you experience any of these symptoms.

What is TIA or "Warning Stroke?"

Up to 25 percent of strokes are preceded by a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, which is a type of "warning stroke."

Symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of a stroke, but they last less than 24 hours and approximately 75 percent last less than five minutes. A TIA can occur days or months before a major stroke, but risk of stroke is highest within 48 hours of a TIA.

Stroke Care: Diagnosis and Treatment

Dignity Health is a nationally recognized leader in stroke care, providing integrated services in diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The Mercy Stroke Center, part of Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California, is part of a Sacramento city-wide network responding in-person to acute stroke emergencies and is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for stroke patients.