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Health & Wellbeing

What is a stroke?

Stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to part of the brain that lasts long enough to cause permanent damage with lasting effects.


All of the cells in the body need a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to survive. These are supplied through blood. Without a blood supply, cells become damaged and die. Once brain cells are dead they cannot be repaired.
Stroke is the single largest cause of adult disability.

There are 2 types of stroke
1. An Ischaemic Stroke is the most common type and occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked. Blockages can happen due to a build-up of fatty plaque inside blood vessels or by a blood clot.

2. A Haemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a damaged or weakened artery ‘bursts’. Although these strokes are less common, they are more likely to be fatal.

Some effects you can see:
Physical
Loss of (/reduced) use of arm / leg
Walking is affected
High tone (tense muscles)
Low tone (weak muscles)
Partial facial paralysis
Nerves may be affected leading to loss of sensation
Balance, co-ordination and the grip may be affected.

Some effects you can’t see:
Cognition
Memory loss
Confusion
Ability to read is affected
Slow processing
Concentration.

Communication
Weak muscles in face
Difficulty in expressing self
Difficulty in understanding others
Difficulty pronouncing words
Slurred speech.

Perception
Inability to:
Judge distances
Judge speed
Difficulty in knowing what objects are used for
Mixing up left and right sides.

Emotional
Frustration
Anger
Depression
Embarrassment
Fear.

 

Risk factors

There are a number of risk factors that can increase the risk of someone having a stroke:

Factors you CAN change:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Excess alcohol
Smoking
Lack of exercise
Obesity
Unhealthy eating.

Factors you CAN’T change:
Gender (men have a higher risk of having a stroke)
Family history (of stroke/heart disease/high blood pressure)
Diabetes (can be controlled to reduce risk)
Ethnic background (people of African, African-Caribbean and Asian descent are at higher risk).

These risk factors overlap and interact with each other - the more you have, the higher the risk of stroke, however, many of the risk factors are things that you can change. Contact us today to find out how you can get support to do so.