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Ischemic Stroke

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Updated May 03, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted due to a blood clot obstructing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to tissues in the brain. Symptoms of a stroke can vary, depending upon the area of the brain affected by the lack of blood flow.

High cholesterol can contribute to the cause of strokes. Uncontrolled, high cholesterol levels can cause the development of atherosclerosis, or thick, waxy plaques, on vessels in the brain, heart or other areas in the body. When these plaques disrupt, blood clots can form in these areas. These clots can form in vessels of the brain, or can travel from other areas of the body to the brain. In either case, blood flow is disrupted and tissues in the brain cannot get the nutrients needed to function.

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