What is a stroke? 

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. 

Definition of a stroke 

A clinical syndrome characterised by rapidly developing clinical symptoms or signs of a specific area of the brain. The symptoms can last for longer than 24 hours and admission to hospital is imperative. 

Symptoms of a stroke 

The main symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T.

  • Face: Weakness of facial muscle 
  • Arms: Weakness/unable to life arm/arms
  • Speech: Incoherent or slurring 
  • Time: If you notice any of these symptoms it is time to call 999. 

Why does a stroke occur? 

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly interrupted, this causing a lack of oxygen and glucose to the brain. The stroke can be ischaemic which accounts for 80% of stroke. This is due a to blockage or reduction in blood supply to the brain. 

A stroke can also be haemorrhagic which accounts for around 15% of strokes and is due to bleeding in the brain. 

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH) 

SAH is usually due to a rupture of an intracranial aneurysm (weak spot on a blood vessel in the brain that balloons and fills with blood). The person usually has a horrendous headache, often becomes weak and will have reduced consciousness. SAH are usually managed by neurosurgeons or neuro-radiologists and invariably treatment includes inserting a coil or clipping the aneurysm to prevent further bleeding. 

The clinical presentation does vary according to which part of the brain has been affected. For example, there could be speech problems with weakness of right arm and leg, reduced sensation, left side weakness, balance problems, visual problems, etc. 

Definition of a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) 

A sudden onset of focal neurological disturbance lasting less than 24 hours. 

A TIA is a warning sign that the person is at high risk of a stroke and needs to be referred for a medical assessment. 

Recovery: 

People who survive a stroke are often left with long-term problems caused by injury to their brain. 

Some people need a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, and some may never fully recover and will need to make necessary adjustments to their daily life. 

Rehabilitation

Here at BASIC, we use a number of rehabilitation methods for those who suffer from a stroke. A lot of our patients suffer from a number of problems post stroke [listed below] and can be treated using the following methods. 

We also run a vocational rehabilitation programme to advice with a back-to-work strategy and if needed benefits advice. 

Stoke Prevention

You can significantly reduce your risk of stroke through leading a healthy lifestyle: 

  • Eating a healthy diet 
  • Taking regular exercise 
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation 
  • Not Smoking