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A stroke happens when blood flow to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die. Strokes are sudden and have an immediate effect.

You can recognise a stroke using the FAST test.

Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?

Speech: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time: time to call an ambulance if you see any one of these signs

Stroke is a medical emergency and if you recognise the signs of a stroke you must dial 999.

The quicker you can respond to a stroke can help reduce the damage to the brain and improve the chances of full recovery.

There are two main types of stroke:

  • ischaemic - where the blood supply is stopped because of a blood clot, accounting for 85% of all cases
  • haemorrhagic - where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts

Mini stroke

A Mini stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack or TIA for short is caused by a temporary interruption to the blood flow to the brain. The effects can last between a few minutes or 24 hours, however, this is a warning sign that you may be at risk of having a major stroke in the future. Even though mini-stroke effects are temporary, you still need to seek emergency medical treatment ASAP.