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Patient with Healthcare Nurse

Stroke

Stroke strikes about every three minutes in the UK and is the largest cause of disability. 

 

A stroke is a medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, leading to the death of brain cells. It is also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). Strokes can be caused by either a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain (ischemic stroke) or by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (haemorrhagic stroke).

All About Stroke

Ischemic strokes are the most common type, accounting for about 80% of all strokes. They occur when a blood clot or plaque build-up narrows or blocks a blood vessel, reducing blood flow to the brain. Haemorrhagic strokes, on the other hand, happen when a blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain.

The signs and symptoms of a stroke can vary depending on the area of the brain affected, but common symptoms include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg (usually on one side of the body), difficulty speaking or understanding speech, confusion, severe headache, trouble walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination.

Strokes are medical emergencies, and immediate medical attention is crucial. Prompt treatment can minimize brain damage and improve the chances of recovery. Treatment options may include clot-dissolving medications (for ischemic strokes) or surgery to repair blood vessel abnormalities (for haemorrhagic strokes). Rehabilitation is often necessary to regain lost functions and assist in the recovery process.

Prevention of stroke involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and managing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular medical check-ups and adherence to prescribed medications can also help reduce the risk of stroke.

  • Stroke is the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK and second in the world

  • 1 in 4 strokes are fatal within a year

  • 1 in 8 strokes are fatal within the first 30 days

  • Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer and more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined a year

  • Stroke is the largest cause of complex disability – half of all stroke survivors have a disability

  • There are around 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK, many living with disabilities because of stroke

  • 3 in 10 stroke survivors will go on to have a recurrent stroke or TIA

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