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About stroke 

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’ caused by a disturbance of the blood supply to the brain.

It's a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention, so recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

Could it be a TIA or mini-stroke?

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or ‘mini-stroke’ is similar to a stroke and has the same signs, but gets better within 24 hours. However, it could be a warning sign of a more serious stroke, so it also needs to be treated as an emergency by calling 999 immediately.

A quick diagnosis allows urgent steps to be taken to reduce the risk of having a stroke. If you think you have had a TIA in the past and have not sought treatment, contact your GP.

Reducing your risk

Some people are more at risk of having a stroke if they also have certain medical conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat)
  • Diabetes

It is important that these conditions are carefully monitored and treated to reduce your chance of having a stroke.

The risk of having a stroke is higher among people in certain ethnic groups, including South Asian, African and Caribbean. This is partly because high blood pressure and diabetes are more common in these groups.

There are also lifestyle factors that may significantly increase the risk of having a stroke. They include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Leading a healthy, active lifestyle is vital to help reduce your risk of having a stroke.

For more information on how to do this, visit:

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