Someone is affected by a stroke every five minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. To ensure they get help as fast as possible, it’s vital to know how to spot the signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else. Read on to learn more about stroke and what to do if you think someone has had a stroke.
Important – If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
What is a stroke?
A stroke happens when a blood vessel that carries oxygen to the brain is either blocked or bursts. When this happens, it prevents that part of the brain from getting oxygen and brain cells to start to die. The more cells that die, the more serious the long-term effects will be. The faster medical help is received, the better the outcome.
The two main causes of strokes:
Ischaemic stroke – occurs when the blood supply is prevented from circulating due to a blood clot. This accounts for 85% of all stroke cases.
Hemorrhagic stroke – occurs when a weakened blood vessel to the brain bursts which prevents oxygen from getting to that area of the brain.
A transient ischaemic attack (TIA), also known as a ‘mini-stroke’ is a related condition where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted. A small clot may occlude the blood vessel anywhere from a few minutes up to 24 hours, before dislodging and allowing normal blood flow to resume. A TIA should always be a cause to seek medical help, even if the effects are minimal. They are often a warning sign of a more significant stroke in the future.
What are the effects of a stroke?
Different parts of the brain control different body functions. The location and severity of the stroke in the brain will determine the effects of the stroke.
|Left side of the brain||Right side of the brain|
|A stroke that occurs in the left side of the brain will affect the right side of the body and may include the following:|
– Paralysis on the right side of the bodySpeech or language problems
– Slow or cautious behaviour
– Memory loss
|A stroke that occurs in the right side of the brain will affect the left side of the body and may include the following:|
– Paralysis on the left side of the body
– Vision problems
– Quick or inquisitive behaviourMemory loss
Symptoms of a stroke – remember FAST
The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:
Face – has the face dropped on one side? Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye dropped?
Arms – can the person lift both arms and keep them up or is there weakness or numbness in one arm.?
Speech – is their speech slurred or garbled? Are they unable to talk at all? Can they understand what you’re saying to them.?
Time – dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.
A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition and urgent treatment is essential. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the more of the person you save.
Other symptoms of a stroke can include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
Treating a stroke
Strokes are usually treated with medication to dissolve the blood clot, lower the blood pressure and reduce blood cholesterol levels. Treatment depends on the type of stroke, the part of the brain affected and the cause of the stroke. In some cases, further procedures or surgery may be needed to relieve swelling in the brain.
You can find more detailed information about specific conditions from the Stroke Association.
Recovering from a stroke
Some people may recover from a stroke, others may recover after a long period of rehabilitation, while others may never fully recover and be left with lasting brain injury. It depends on the cause and severity of the stroke.
There is lots of support available for people that need it following a stroke. You can find out more about available help on the NHS website.
If you or a loved one need assistance with everyday tasks at home following a stroke, Eximius can help. We provide day and night live-in support for simple day-to-day care and companionship or for more complex medical care needs. Our service is tailored to provide exactly the care that you need and want. For more information contact us here.