A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off.
Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain; without this brain cells are damaged and cannot function.
Because your brain controls everything you do, a stroke can affect the way your body is able to function. This may affect physical processes such as movement; mental processes such understanding and learning; and communication.
STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. The sooner doctors are able to diagnose the condition and treat the patient, the better the recovery potential. Therefore it is essential to recognise the symptoms and promptly ring 999.
Symptoms of a stroke
We recommend you use the Face-Arm-Speech Test (act FAST):
F – Face: ask the person to smile. Is there a drooping of the mouth at one side?
A – Arm: ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downwards?
S – Speech: can the person speak clearly and understand what is said to them?
T – Time: call 999 if they show any of the above symptoms.
A stroke is sudden, and the effects on your body are immediate.
Symptoms can also include loss of vision, loss of balance and coordination, numbness or only mild weakness.
If the symptoms resolve within minutes, you may have had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA or mini stroke). This is a warning sign; and you should contact your GP or your local emergency department immediately as you are at risk of a permanently disabling stroke. Your GP will have an urgent referral number/ fax to call, which will ensure you are seen by a stroke specialist within a few days
Types of stroke
There are 2 main types of stroke:
Ischaemic stroke: is caused by a blockage in the brain, and accounts for 85% of strokes. This maybe caused by a blood clot.
Haemorrhagic stroke: is a bleed in or around the brain, which maybe caused by a burst blood vessel.