Every year, an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke including children and babies. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK. It is also the leading cause of severe disability.
A stroke is what happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Once this interruption to the normal blood supply becomes significant, brain tissue will die and this is called cerebral infarction.
The effects of a stroke
Every stroke is different and people who have a stroke are affected in different ways. For some, the symptoms are quite mild and last a short time, other strokes may cause more severe and lasting damage.
Different parts of the brain control different parts of the body. The right half of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa.
Common symptoms like weakness or not being able to use an arm or leg (paralysis) happens on the opposite side of the body.
Types of stroke
The most common type of stroke is a blockage. This is called an ischaemic stroke, which happens when a clot blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain.
The symptoms of stroke can also occur because of a bleed in the brain resulting in a haemorrhagic stroke.
A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) often referred to as a 'mini-stroke', happens when the brain's blood supply is interrupted for a very brief time. The symptoms of a TIA are very similar to a stroke, such as weakness on one side of the body, loss and slurred speech, but they are temporary - lasting a few minutes or hours, and then disappearing completely.
In a TIA, the affected part of the brain is without oxygen for just a few minutes. A TIA is a sign that part of the brain is not getting enough blood and that there is a risk of a more serious stroke in the future. So it is urgent that you seek specialist advice without delay.
The first signs that someone has had a stroke are usually very sudden. Symptoms include:
- Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Slurred speech or difficulty finding words or understanding speech
- Blurred vision or loss of sight
- Confusion or unsteadiness
- Severe headache
Improving your chances of a better recovery after a stroke will depend largely on the quality of the rehabilitation support you receive, combined with your own motivation and determination to overcome the physical and emotional changes that a stroke can cause.
At the London Brain Centre we are fortunate to work closely with the Wellington Hospital's Rehabilitation Unit, which is the largest and most well resourced private Neuro Rehabilitation Unit in the country.
New enquiries are always welcome from GP's, patients and their relatives about the opportunity for those suffering with the effects of a stroke to access this service.
Website : www.thewellingtonrehabunit.com