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Stroke

 

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly cut off.

 

A blood vessel may be blocked by a blood clot or a vessel may burst.

 

If blood can't get through, the brain may be deprived of food and oxygen and brain cells will die within a few minutes.

 

Every year more than 100 000 in Britain people have a stroke.

 

 

[Symptoms]

[Causes]

[Treatments]

 

 

Symptoms

A stroke can cause:

  • slurred speech
  • blurred vision
  • sudden numbness of one side of the body
  • weakness on one side of the body

A mini stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) causes similar symptoms but they may last for only a few minutes. Anyone who has these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

 

Causes

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This may be because blood vessels become blocked or a vessel bursts.

Blood vessels are damaged by high blood pressure and this is the cause of half of all strokes.

Exercise, eating a balanced diet and giving up smoking can help keep blood pressure down and reduce the chance of a stroke.

 

Treatments

Brain cells deprived of blood die within minutes. However, because dying cells release chemicals including glutamate, nearby cells are put at risk. Scientists are looking at ways to prevent glutamate from killing nearby cells. Scientists are also looking at how the body’s own immune response kills brain cells.

With time and physiotherapy , people who have had a stroke may recover some function as the brain finds alternative pathways round the damaged regions.

 

 

For advice and information, go to The Stroke association website.