Most stroke cases occur in people aged over 65. Each year about 1 in 100 people over the age of 75 will have a stroke. But a stroke can occur at any age - even in babies. About one million people in the UK are living with the effects of stroke. Half of these people depend on others for help with everyday activities.
The damage caused by a stroke can be widespread and long-lasting. Some people need to have a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many will never fully recover. The process of rehabilitation will be specific to you, and will depend on symptoms and how severe they are. A team of specialists are available to help, including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and specialist nurses and doctors.
Strokes can usually be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking will dramatically reduce the risk of having a stroke. Lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels with medication also lowers the risk of stroke substantially.
Treatment depends on the type of stroke the person has had and also 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.
These are important steps to take if you suppect someone is suffering a stroke. F.Face – Has the persons face fallen on one side? Can the person smile? A. Arms – Can the person raise both arms and keep them there? S. Speech – Is the persons speech slurred? Can they make any form of sentences? T. Time – time to call 999 If you see any single one of these signs and act fast
There are two main causes of stroke. The second cause is haemorrhagic – which is a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts and causes brain damage. There is also a related condition known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the supply of blood to the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing a 'mini-stroke'. TIAs should be treated seriously as they are often a warning sign that a stroke is coming.
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.