As it’s World Stroke Day today, we take a look at the symptoms, causes and treatment of those who suffer from a stroke. It is important to understand why this topic is so important and we have collated a few statistics we feel are significant:
- Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in the UK.
- There are approximately 32,000 stroke-related deaths in England each year.
- Deaths related to stroke have declined by 49% over the last 15 years.
- Over a third of first time stroke happen to middle aged adults (between the ages of 40 & 69).
Symptoms of a stroke:
A stroke is a medical condition, which occurs when poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. The symptoms to look out for when someone is suffering from a stroke can be remembered with the anagram F.A.S.T.
- Face – The face may have dropped to one side, there is difficulty smiling or the persons mouth/eye may have dropped.
- Arms – A person suffering from a stroke may have difficulty in lifting both their arms and leaving them in the air, due to a weakness or numbness in one of their arms.
- Speech – Someone with a suspected stroke may have a slurred speech, despite being awake, they may have difficulty when speaking.
- Time – If you see any of these signs or symptoms, it is essential you dial 999 immediately. Time is important, since the sooner a stroke sufferer receives treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.
These are the most common symptoms to look out for in case someone is suffering from a stroke, however, on occasion a stoke can cause different symptoms, which can be found here.
What causes a stroke?
All organs in your body require oxygen and nutrients provided by the blood in order to function properly. This is no different for the human brain, therefore if a supply of blood is restricted brain cells begin to die, which can lead to brain injury, disability and possibly even death.
The two main causes of a stroke are:
- Ischaemic – blood supply to the brain is stopped because of a blood clot, which accounts for 85% of all stroke cases.
- Haemorrhagic – Where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain with blood bursts.
There can also be a temporary interruption of blood supply to the brain, a condition known as Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA). This is often referred to as a mini stroke and can last anywhere in between a few minutes or a several hours.
It is important a TIA is treated urgently, as it is often a warning sign there may be a risk of a full stroke occurring in the future.
There are certain conditions that increase the likeliness of a stroke from occurring, such as:
Although these are the common causes for a stroke, an ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke have different causes.
- Ischaemic Stroke Causes
- High Blood Pressure
- Excessive Alcohol Intake
- High Cholesterol levels
- Haemorrhagic Stroke Causes
- Excessive Alcohol Intake
- Lack of exercise
- Stress – which may cause a temporary rise in blood pressure
Preventing a Stroke:
There are lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of a stroke occurring, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Not smoking
If you have a condition such as diabetes or high cholesterol, it is important to manage it effectively, through the use of medication. These techniques aim to increase blood flow around the body and intend to reduce the chances of a stroke from occurring.
We hope you have found this blog helpful and knowledgeable. It is essential to keep an eye out for the symptoms of stroke, whether at a restaurant, on public transport or even at your local supermarket! And remember, act F.A.S.T should you come across any of these symptoms.