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Luke Perry Dies After a Massive Stroke

The tragic death of Luke Perry has heightened questions surrounding the stroke that caused the “90210” and “Riverdale” star to die so young.


Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thirty-four percent of people hospitalized for stroke in 2009, the most recent data available, were under age 65.


What is a stroke?


A stroke is caused when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain.


There are two types of strokes, according to the CDC.


In an ischemic stroke, the more common type, blood clots from the heart or other vessels block the blood vessels to the brain.


A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. The most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure.


A transient ischemic attack (TIA), a mini-stroke, happens when the stroke symptoms last just for a few minutes and then go away. It is important to treat a TIA as a medical emergency as it could be followed by a major, debilitating stroke, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


If a patient is diagnosed with a TIA, they can receive the proper workup and be put on medications that will decrease their risk of having a stroke in the future.