• LC&VA

Do you really understand what a stroke is?

A stroke occurs when blood follow to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing the brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrition; meaning that the tissue will begin to die. This is a very serious life-threatening medical condition, that must be treated as soon as possible. The sooner treatment is given, the less damage is done.


FAST is a good way of remembering the most common symptoms of a stroke

  • Face- you may be able to notice that one side of their face has dropped; this will be most obvious around the eyes and mouth.

  • Arms- they may experience numbness or weakness in both of their arms, and may also be unable to life their arms.

  • Speech- they may not be able to speak or it may be slurred; they may also have difficulties understanding what you are saying.

  • Time- it is important that you call 999 immediately if anyone is displaying these symptoms.

Like all organs in the human body, it is essential that they have blood flowing through them to stay alive. When blood flow to the brain stops the tissue starts to die. This can lead to permanent brain injury, disabilities and death in some cases.

The two main causes of a stroke are:

  • Ischaemic- A blood clot stops the flow of blood to the brain, around 85% of all strokes are caused by this.

  • Haemorrhagic- when a weakened blood vessel, that supplies the brain, bursts.

Some people may also suffer from a condition called a transient ischaemic attack, which is like a mini stroke, meaning that the blood supply to the brain is cut off temporarily. This can be a warning sign for a full stroke in the future, so it is important that you seek medical advice if you suffer from a mini stroke.

The treatment for a stroke can vary between patients, depending on what type of stroke they have had and what part of the brain it has affected. They can usually be treated with medication; however, some cases require surgery. During this procedure the blood clot will be removed.

Unfortunately, many people that suffer with a stroke will have long term problems as a result of the brain injury. Rehabilitation can help some patients to improve their quality of life and give them some independence back.

To reduce your risk of having a stroke you can

  • Have a healthy balanced diet

  • Do exercise regularly

  • Quit smoking

  • Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol

If you have had a stroke before, or know that you are at a higher risk then it is important that you take measures to stay healthy.


This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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Photo credit Giulio Mazzarini

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