What is stroke?
A stroke is a life-threatening condition in which the blood and oxygen supply to part of the brain is cut off. There are two main types of stroke:
- Ischaemic stroke. This is the most common type of stroke which occurs when a blood clot prevents the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
- Haemorrhagic stroke. This occurs when a blood vessel in the skull bursts causing bleeding inside and around the brain, known as a brain haemorrhage.
What causes stroke?
A stroke is caused by the blood and oxygen supply to part of the brain being cut off. Anyone can have a stroke, but certain factors do increase the likelihood of one occurring:
- Age: as a person gets older their arteries become narrower and harder and are also more likely to get blocked up with fatty material.
- Medical conditions, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Lifestyle: smoking, high alcohol intake, being overweight and an unhealthy diet can be damaging to blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of stroke?
The word FAST can be used to help you to remember the main symptoms of a stroke, and know what to do.
- F- Face. The whole face or just the mouth and/or an eye may droop on one side and the person may be unable to smile.
- A – Arms – Weakness or numbness in one arm resulting in the person being unable to hold their arm up and keep it there.
- S – Speech. Their speech may be slurred or they may not be able to talk at all, or they may have difficulty understanding others.
- T – Time. If someone is showing any symptoms of a stroke 999 should be called immediately.