Stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or die. The impact of stroke can be short- and long-term, depending on which part of the brain is affected and how quickly it is treated. Stroke survivors can experience wide-ranging disabilities including difficulties with mobility and speech, as well as how they think and feel.
Fast access to treatment saves lives and improves recovery.
If you spot the signs of stroke, call an ambulance immediately.
Facts and Figures about Stroke
- Stroke is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage and loss of function. It is most frequently caused by a clot in an artery supplying blood to the brain. It can also be caused by hemorrhage when a burst vessel causes blood to leak into the brain. Stroke can cause permanent damage, including partial paralysis and impairment in speech, comprehension and memory. The part of the brain affected and the length of time the blood supply has been stopped affects the type and the severity of disability.
- Stroke has already reached epidemic proportions. Globally 1 in 4 adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. 12.2 million people worldwide will have their first stroke this year and 6.5 million will die as a result. Over 110 million people in the world have experienced stroke.
- The incidence of stroke increases significantly with age, however over 60% of strokes happen to people under the age of 70 and 16% happen to those under the age of 50.
- One of the main clinical risk factors for stroke is high blood pressure as a result of atherosclerosis. There are many other risk factors, including tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, atrial fibrillation, raised blood lipid levels, obesity, genetic disposition, stress and depression.
The signs of stroke
Knowing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate emergency medical care can save lives and improve the outcome for survivors. The key signs of stroke are
- Facial drooping
- Arm weakness on one side
- Speech difficulties - slurring or not making sense
People may also experience changes in their vision and loss of balance/dizziness.