A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Many doctors prefer the term: ”brain attack”, which they feel better describes the seriousness of the condition.
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.
There are two main types of strokes:
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.
The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: (Face-Arms-Speech-Time)
In England, strokes are a major health problem. Every year over 150,000 people have a stroke and it is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. The brain damage caused by strokes means that they are the largest cause of adult disability in the UK.
People over 65 years of age are most at risk from having strokes, although 25% of strokes occur in people who are under 65. It is also possible for children to have strokes.
Smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise and a poor diet are also risk factors for stroke. Also, conditions that affect the circulation of the blood, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) and diabetes, increase your risk of having a stroke.
Treatment depends on the type of stroke, including which part of the brain was affected and what caused it. Most often, strokes are treated with medicines. This generally includes drugs to prevent and remove blood clots, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. In some cases, surgery may be required; this is to clear fatty deposits in the arteries or to repair the damage caused by a haemorrhagic stroke.
For more information visit: http://www.stroke.org.uk/