What is a stroke?Stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted, and brain tissue is damaged.
The two main types of stroke are:
- Ischaemic - where a blood clot forms in the brain. This accounts for about 8, out of 10 instances of stroke.
- Hemorrhagic - when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, and causes a brain hemorrhage.
What are stroke symptoms?The warning signs of a stroke are given the acronym FAST:
- Face - stroke will often affect muscles on one side of the face, causing the mouth, or eyes to droop down in contrast with the unaffected side
- Arms - a person having had a stroke, may be unable to hold up one of their arms
- Speech - slurred speech may be a sign of a stroke
- Time - refers to the need for urgent action, call 911 immediately if one, or more of the symptoms are present.
- Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- Trouble seeing
- Loss of balance
- Double vision
- Severe headache
The NHS states that there may be up to 65,000 people affected by a TIA each year, but many of these go unreported.
Any suspicion of stroke, should prompt an instant emergency call.
Am I at high risk of having a stroke?Having diabetes increases the risk of stroke. Other factors which further raise the risk of stroke include:
- Having high blood pressure
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Having a family history of heart disease, or stroke