What is a stroke?
A Stroke happens when part of the brain is damaged as a result of a lack of blood supply or from bleeding from a blood vessel if it bursts. They can vary in severity from a mild disability which clears completely within a few weeks or months to a permanent physical handicap or in extreme cases loss of life. In the UK more than 110,000 people have a stroke for the first time every year which is the same as about 2 in every 1000 people annually. The chances of a stroke occurring increase with age and tends to be higher in men than in women.
When an artery supplying oxygen to the brain becomes blocked or ruptures and bleeds the brain cells supplied by those blood vessels become starved of oxygen and glucose and perishes. Symptoms usually occur suddenly commonly leading to paralysis of an arm or leg or both, speech difficulties, visual disturbances and problems with coordination. Much depends on the area of brain affected. A mini stroke also knows as a Transient Ischaemic attack or TIA is a warning sign of a more severe stroke and completely resolves within a day. All strokes including Mini Strokes must be taken seriously and investigated and treated.
High Blood Pressure, hardening of the arteries over many years, smoking, heart conditions with an abnormal rhythm and certain medications can all make strokes more common as of course does getting older. Lifestyle changes before and afterwards to minimise the need for medication and prevent a second attack can make a huge difference.
Stroke rehabilitation certainly improves independence after anybody has suffered a stroke and most people will be able to return home to continue independent living. Help is often required however. There may be discomfort or pain, limited mobility, a risk of chest infections or urinary infections, emotional changes or even epilepsy. A degree of depression is understandable as one’s life has been significantly changed. The outlook for many however can be very good with many people living full and satisfying lives. Caring for anybody after a stroke can be challenging but various charities exist to help and Telecare24 Careline Services can prove very valuable. Enabling people to stay independent if they wish in their own home and yet still remain in touch around the clock with loved ones and emergency services can offer a huge piece of mind and reassurance. For anyone at risk of falling, for anyone living alone who suffer a short term illness who have returned home from hospital who have a physical disability or simply need reassurance that somebody is around to help when needed Telecare24 Careline Service comes highly recommend. Dr Hilary Jones.
Different Strokes – The number of young people suffering a stroke is increasing. This superb charity aims to support young stroke survivors. They also have a helpline manned by stroke survivors. You can contact them on 0845 130 7172. Lines are open Mon-Fri 9-5pm National Stroke Association – Campaigns for better prevention and aftercare for stroke patients as well as providing support services across the UK. They also fund research in developing treatments to prevent strokes in the future. Their helpline is available on 0303 3033 100. Headway – The Brain Injury Association – Provide support and information to survivors and their families. Their helpline is available on 0800 800 2244 or via email at [email protected]