A stroke occurs when a blood vessel, which is carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain, bursts or is blocked by a clot. This causes an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain. This can damage or destroy brain cells which will affect body functions.
For example, if a stroke damages the part of the brain that controls limb movement, a person’s ability to move an arm or leg may be affected. A stroke can also affect mental processes such as how people feel, think, communicate, or learn.
The term ‘stroke’ comes from the fact that it usually happens without warning, ‘striking’ the person from out of the blue. The effects of a stroke on the body are immediate.
Did you know……
- 10,000 people in Ireland are admitted to hospital with stroke each year.
- 1,200 people in the West of Ireland are diagnosed with stroke each year.
- Stroke is the third most common cause of death and the most common cause of acquired physical disability in Ireland.
- There are 30,000 survivors of stroke in Ireland, many of whom have significant disabilities.
- Approximately 80 per cent of strokes are caused by a blockage of an artery supplying blood to the brain. 20 per cent of strokes are caused by a bleed into the brain from a burst blood vessel in the brain.
- Under-65s account for about one third of strokes.
What can I do to prevent a stroke?
The best treatment for stroke is prevention. There are several risk factors that increase your chances of having a stroke:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
If you smoke – quit. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol, getting them under control – and keeping them under control – will greatly reduce your chances of having a stroke.
When stroke strikes, act F.A.S.T.
The F.A.S.T. acronym was created as a helper for people to remember the main warning signs of stroke so that they can act immediately in the case of a stroke by dialling 999.
F.A.S.T. stands for:
F – Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
A – Arms – Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
S – Speech – is their speech slurred?
T –Time to call 999 if you spot any single one of these signs.
F.A.S.T. can help you to rapidly recognise when a stroke is taking place and then act quickly to get medical treatment and prevent serious damage.