What is stroke?
A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. Ischemic strokes
Ischaemic strokes, the most common type of stroke, occur when blood clots block the flow of blood to the brain. Blood clots typically form in areas where the arteries have been narrowed or blocked by fatty cholesterol-containing deposits known as plaques.
Haemorrhagic strokes (also known as cerebral haemorrhages or intracranial haemorrhages) usually occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain (intracerebral haemorrhage). In about 5% of cases, the bleeding occurs on the surface of the brain (subarachnoid haemorrhage).
The main symptoms of Stroke are : (They can be remembered in the following ‘FAST’ ) Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile as their mouth or eye may have dropped Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift one or both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms
There are other signs and symptoms which may include:
numbness or weakness resulting in complete paralysis of one side of the body sudden loss of vision
communication problems, difficulty talking and understanding what others are saying problems with balance and coordination
sudden and severe headache, unlike any the person has had before, especially if associated with neck stiffness blacking out (in severe cases)
Why do strokes happen?
Like all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
Stroke is a largely preventable condition. Many risks can be reduced by making lifestyle changes. However there are other risks that contribute to the risk of getting a stroke, these include: age – you are more likely to have a stroke if you are over 65 years old, although about a quarter of strokes happen in younger people family history – if a close relative (parent, grandparent, brother or sister) has had a stroke, your risk is likely to be higher ethnicity – if you are south Asian, African or Caribbean, your risk of stroke is higher, partly because rates of diabetes and high blood pressure are higher in these groups your medical history – if you have previously had a stroke, TIA or heart attack, your risk of stroke is higher
The main cause of Haemorrhagic
The main cause of haemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure (hypertension), which can weaken the arteries in the brain and make them prone to split or rupture.
The main cause of Ischemic
A main cause of Ischemic stroke is when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in an artery supplying your brain and blocks the blood supply. Another cause of ischemic stroke is an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), which can cause blood clots that become lodged in the brain.
More factors that can increase the risk of causing a stroke include: smoking
high blood pressure (hypertension)
high cholesterol levels (often caused by a high-fat diet, but can result from inherited factors) a family history of heart disease or diabetes
excessive alcohol intake (which can also make obesity and high blood pressure worse, as well as causing heart damage and an irregular heartbeat)
If your blood pressure is too high, you may be given medicines to lower it. Medicines that are commonly used include:...
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