Ischaemic strokes are the most common types of stroke, and are usually associated with artherosclerosis (a build up of fatty materials in the arteries known as Artheroma or Plaque).
The word 'ischaemia' means an inadequate flow of blood. An ischaemic stroke is the name given to a stroke which is caused when the blood flowing through one of the arteries in the brain becomes blocked usually by a blood clot.
The build up of fatty deposits (plaques) in the blood vessels, is involved in most cases of ischaemic stroke. This process is called 'artherosclerosis'. The fatty deposits can cause the blood vessel to narrow and therefore make it easier for a blockage to occur - if this blockage occurs in a blood vessel in the brain, it can lead to a stroke.
There are a number of different ways in which a blood vessel in the brain can become blocked and cause an ischaemic stroke:
A blood clot, known as a thrombus is formed in one of the blood vessels supplying blood to your brain and then blocks the flow of blood.
A thrombus quite often forms where there is a damaged spot on the blood vessel wall. The thrombus is more likely to form if the blood vessel has been furred up with fatty deposits.
Sometimes a clot called an embolus, forms in another part of your body and then travels to the brain and gets stuck in the blood vessels .
An embolus can form in the heart following a heart attack or if you have an abnormal rhythm, or a problem with one of the valves in your heart.