Stroke

Information on Strokes

Stroke is the largest cause of disability in the UK, and third most common cause of death (after heart disease and cancer). Each year 110,000 people in the UK have a first stroke, and about 30,000 have a recurrent stroke. A stroke causes damage to the brain and is due to either a blood clot in the brain (called an ischaemic stroke) or bleeding in the brain (called haemorrhagic stroke). Outcome following a stroke depends on several factors such as the part of the brain affected, the extent of brain damage and how quickly treatment is given. Both a stroke and a mini-stroke (called TIA) are medical emergencies and need immediate medical attention. If you develop any of the following, you should dial 999 immediately (remember FAST):

  • F - Facial Weakness. Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • A - Arm Weakness. Can the person raise both arms?
  • S - Speech Disturbance. Can the person speak clearly? can the understand you?
  • T - Time to call 999 immediately if you or an other person have any of the above symptoms.

There are several things that put you at higher risk of a having a stroke, but there are also lots of things that you can do to reduce your risk. These include: 

  • Stopping smoking - If you would like help with this, click here for more information
  • Eating a healthy low fat diet and taking regular exercise at least three times a week
  • Keeping your weight within a normal level
  • Drinking alcohol within the recommended limits (21 unites of alcohol per week for men, and 12 units per week for women?

If you have had a TIA or stroke in the past, you will be invited by letter for an annual review with the Practice Nurse. At this check, the Nurse will:

  • Discuss your symptoms and the impact your symptoms are having on you
  • Review your medications, and any side effects that you have
  • Check your weight, height and blood pressure
  • Take blood samples to check your kidney function, blood count, cholesterol level and sugar level
  • Address any risk factors for strokes outlined above, and help you reduce these
  • Provide help with stopping smoking if applicable
  • Offer you the annual Flu vaccine
  • Perform a screening test for depression as some patients after a stroke develop low moods