What Happens When You Have a Stroke? The Timeline Explained

Are you trying to figure out what happens when you have a stroke? If yes, you should check out our timeline here explaining everything you need to know.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. According to the CDC, it kills more than 140,000 Americans each year.

A disease that affects the arteries, it occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked. As a result, the surrounding nerve cells will start to die—at a rate of two million cells per minute.

Given that, you want to act fast. The quicker you receive treatment, the better the outcomes.

Want to know what happens when you have a stroke? If so, you’re on the right page. Keep reading to learn more!

Risk Factors For Stroke 

Certain risk factors can increase your chance of having a stroke. For example, high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.

Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol use can also increase your risk. Genetics has something to do with it as well. That is, people with a family history of stroke will be at a higher risk.

Do you know someone who’s suffered a stroke? If so, you might want to consider donating to a stroke charity.

General Timeline of a Stroke 

Symptoms will quickly occur within minutes as your brain cells start to die. For example, you might have difficulty raising your arm.

Avoid the urge to drive yourself to the emergency room. Instead, call 911 and tell them you’re having a stroke. After all, you never know when new symptoms will set in!

Once you’re at the hospital, the doctor will perform a few tests. From there, they’ll perform surgery or give you a clot-breaking drug. Ideally, this will all happen within 60 minutes.

What Happens When You Have a Stroke? 

There are three main types of strokes. Let’s take a look at how they differ below.

Ischemic Stroke 

Ischemic strokes occur when the blood vessels to the brain become blocked. This is often due to atherosclerosis, a chronic condition in which fatty deposits build up in the arteries.

More often than not, an episode will last upwards of a few minutes. Left untreated, however, that’s enough to cause irreversible damage.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack, also known as a ministroke, occurs when there’s a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain. Unlike a full stroke, however, the blockage will usually dissolve quickly.

Given that, it’s not surprising to know that the symptoms will also disappear quickly—usually within 15 minutes. In some cases, however, they may last a few hours.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke, also known as an intracerebral hemorrhage, occurs when a blood vessel bursts open in the brain. As a result, blood will accumulate in the surrounding tissues.

As it is, symptoms tend to appear suddenly. What’s more, is that they tend to worsen over 30 to 90 minutes.

Understanding Stroke

Now you know what happens when you have a stroke! As you can see, there’s more than one type—each of which can cause permanent damage to the brain.

Want to learn more? If so, be sure to check out some of our other posts!