In the UK it is known that some one has a stroke every five minutes. A stroke is more common for people over the age of sixty five but it can happen at any time.
A stroke is the third most common cause of death after heart disease and cancer and the leading cause of disabilities in the UK.
A stroke happens when the normal blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. If your brain cells do not get a constant supply of oxygen from the blood the cells in the affected area become damaged or they die.
You have four main arteries which supply blood to your brain, these arteries then divide into smaller ones. When you have a stroke it depends on which artery has been affected to the amount of damage caused. If it is a small artery then you may only have minor symptoms, but if the artery is a major one then this can cause severe symptoms and even death.
To recognise the signs of a stroke in someone you should try and question them if possible. Can the person smile or has their mouth or eye drooped to the side? Can the person raise both arms? Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? If the person has fails any of these tests, and the main symptoms don’t disappear within about 30 minutes, they may be having a full stroke. You should call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
If a person has failed any of the tests, but the severe symptoms clear up quickly they have probably had a TIA. And they will need to see their GP as soon as possible.
The symptoms of a stroke may vary from person to person depending upon which part of the brain that is affected. The functions of the different parts of the body are controlled by different parts of the brain.
Symptoms usually come on very sudden and below are some of the symptoms that may occur during the onset.
A weakness or numb feeling down one side of the body it ranges in severity from weakness in your hand to complete paralysis of the whole side of your body.
A weakness and drooping of the face which can cause you to drool saliva, you may also experience dizziness.
You may have problems talking and understanding what others are saying, problems with balance and coordination also difficulty swallowing.
Severe headache may occur or loss of consciousness in more severe cases, also confusion.
Symptoms can often improve after a few weeks, when the swelling around the damaged part of the brain subsides. The symptoms can gradually get better with rehabilitation and treatment, but some people are left with a degree of disability after a stroke.
Long-term treatment after a stroke consists of a variety of therapies to help you get back as much independence as possible. This process of rehabilitation will be specific to you, depending on your symptoms, and their severity. A team of specialists are available to help, including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and specialist nurses and doctors.
The most common type of stroke is called an Ischaemic, this occurs in seventeen out of twenty cases. An Ischaemic stroke is caused when a blood clot blocks an artery, this restricts the amount of blood and oxygen that can reach the brain. This happens due to furring and narrowing of the arteries, but sometimes a blood clot will form some where else in the body and this goes into the bloodstream and then the arteries near to the brain.
A mini stroke is when the blood supply to your brain is cut off, this can last just a few minutes or up to twenty four hours. You normally recover completely from a mini stroke but it is important that you see your GP urgently so he can advise you on how to reduce the risk of a full stroke happening in the future.
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