A stroke describes what happens when the blood supply to a part of our brain is cut off. Strokes can happen to any of us, at any age and how quickly they’re treated has a big impact on our recovery.
We train our carers to spot the symptoms of a stroke and what to do next. As time is of the essence, it’s really worth knowing what to look for and how to help.
So, what’s going on?
Our blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to our brain, without it our brain cells become damaged and die. Brain damage resulting from a stroke varies in its severity and depends on which part of our brain has been affected. It may impact on how our bodies work, how we communicate, think or feel.
The most common type of stroke happens when there is a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. This is called an ischaemic stroke. Strokes are also be caused by bleeding around, or inside the brain itself. These are called haemorrhagic strokes. You may also hear about a TIA or transient ischaemic attack – a mini-stroke. This is so called because the blockage that prevents the blood reaching the brain is temporary and the symptoms last no longer than 24 hours. Children too may suffer strokes but the causes are different to those of adults.
A stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK.
As we get older our arteries narrow and harden, which means they are more likely to become blocked by a clot or a build up of plaque. Our risk of stroke rises over the age of 65. We are also at increased risk from our family medical history, our lifestyle and also some medical conditions. No stroke is ever the same and the effect may vary from quite minor and temporary, to life changing and, sadly, not everyone survives.
One in eight people die within 30 days of having a stroke.
The faster someone receives treatment, the much better their chances of survival and recovery, so here’s what to look for and, importantly, what to do…
If you think someone you are with is suffering a stroke – think FAST
Video c/o the Stroke Association
Face: look at their face and ask them to smile. Has their face fallen on one side?
Arms: ask them to raise both arms and keep them raised. Are they unable to raise one arm?
Speech: ask them their name, or ask them to say “hello”. Is their speech slurred?
Time: if you spot any of these signs, always call 999 straight away.
Any one of the symptoms here could mean someone is having a stroke and, while, these are immediate signs, there are other symptoms that we all need to be aware of:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
When it comes to strokes here’s what we can’t change…
- Gender (sex): in people under 75, men have more strokes than women.
- Age: you are more likely to have a stroke if you are over the age of 65.
- Family History: if a close relative has had a stroke, your risk is likely to be higher.
- Ethnic Background: if you are of South Asian or African-Caribbean origin, you are at a higher risk.
And here’s what we can…
- Do not smoke
- Avoid heavy drinking
- Keep active
- Eat healthy food
- If you have a family history of stokes, get regular check ups and discuss this with your GP
If you think you, or someone you know may have suffered a TIA always seek medical attention, as these can be signs of a more serious future problem.
Get more information, visit the Stroke Association website.
For advice call the Stroke Association Helpline on 0303 3033 100
Discover more about childhood strokes.
We run a wide range of accredited care training courses in York for our own domiciliary care teams, residential carers, third party organisations and private individuals. Have a look at our care course breakdown and training calendar – how can we help you?
Could you spot the symptoms of a stroke? Would you now know what to do? If the answer is ‘yes’ we are looking for people just like you for a rewarding career in care. With no experience needed and full training given, if you are kind, reliable and want a rewarding role with opportunities to gain professional qualifications, talk to us, we’ve got the job for you.