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Strokes: Signs, Treatments and Prevention

Wellcross Grange

People in the UK are now living longer than ever before – a major achievement that has been driven by advancements in both modern science and healthcare.

Within the next 30 years, the population of people over the age of 60 in the UK is predicted to surpass the number of those beneath it, making awareness of a changing health landscape essential.

Whilst the general care and support for our loved ones is obviously very important, it is also vital to be aware of other risks to their health as they get older. One such risk is the increase in the likelihood of a stroke, which doubles every decade following the age of 55.

Strokes are now the leading cause of death and disability in the UK, with a reported 32,000 related fatalities in England each year.

In this article, we take a look at what a stroke is and what you can do to reduce the risk of getting one.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. It can happen to anyone at any time. The sudden lack of blood, caused by a blockage or sudden rupture, causes the brain to be starved of oxygen resulting in the death of brain cells.

When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

A suspected stroke may be confirmed by scanning the brain with special X-ray tests, such as CAT scans.

Spotting the signs of a stroke

As you can imagine, every second matters when it comes to someone having a stroke. Even if brain cells aren’t killed straight away, there may be permanent damage caused to the brain that is beyond repair. This is especially the case if the person doesn’t receive the necessary treatment during or after the attack.

One of the biggest challenges with strokes is they aren’t all the same. A stroke can affect the brain in very different ways, which can make recognising the symptoms very difficult. Depending on the type of stroke, the signs can be quite subtle – especially for older people, who are more prone to them.

Below, we have provided some of the main signs that you or your loved one should look out for. These signs can be the tell-tale sign to seek medical advice, and can include:

  • Partial loss or total loss of vision
  • Sudden changes in behaviour
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Sudden trouble walking and loss of coordination
  • Severe headache
  • Trouble speaking or understanding
  • Paralysis or a sudden onset of weakness

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