The information below is courtesy of the Stroke Foundation. Visit the Stroke Foundation website for more information.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke happens when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Blood is carried to the brain by blood vessels called arteries. Blood contains oxygen and important nutrients for your brain cells. Blood may be interrupted or stop moving through an artery, because the artery is blocked (ischaemic stroke) or bursts (haemorrhagic stroke). When brain cells do not get enough oxygen or nutrients, they die.
Stroke Risk Factors
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Irregular pulse
Stroke Warning Signs
The Stroke Foundation recommends the F.A.S.T. test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke.
- Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
- Arms – Can they lift both arms?
- Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
- Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.
The following signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination:
- Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
- Difficulty speaking or understanding
- Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
- Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
- Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
- Difficulty swallowing
After Stroke Effects
Some of the problems people may have after a stroke include:
- Weakness on one side of the body, including arms and legs
- Problems controlling or coordinating movements
- Ignoring one side of your body, which is called neglect
- Difficulties swallowing food, drink or your own saliva
- Personality and behaviour changes
- Having uncontrollable outbursts of emotion without cause
- Problems with thinking, memory and insight
- Difficulty receiving messages from your senses– smell, touch, taste, sight and hearing
- Problems speaking and understanding, or with reading and writing
- Feeling worried about having sex or having physical changes that make it difficult
- Vision loss
There are some stroke risk factors that you cannot do anything about, such as older age, being male, family history or already having a prior stroke.
But for most Australians, you can reduce your risk and help prevent stroke by leading an active, healthy lifestyle.