Video 11 of 23
3 min 38 sec
Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

Understanding Strokes: A Guide

Strokes are a major health issue in the UK, leading to significant disability and mortality. This guide covers the types of strokes, symptoms, and the immediate actions required if you suspect someone is having a stroke.

**Stroke Overview and Statistics**

Each year, around 150,000 people in the UK experience a stroke, with over 10,000 of these cases occurring in individuals under retirement age. Strokes are responsible for more disabilities than any other chronic disease in the UK, leaving approximately 300,000 people with moderate to severe disabilities.

Stroke Mortality

Annually, about 67,000 people die from strokes in the UK, making them the third leading cause of death in England and Wales, following heart disease and cancer. Strokes account for 9% of all male deaths and 13% of female deaths annually.

**Types of Strokes**

Strokes can be classified into two main types:

  • Ischemic Stroke: Occurs when a clot blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain. Common causes include cerebral thrombosis, cerebral embolism, and blockages in the brain’s small vessels.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: Happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, leading to internal bleeding.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A TIA, or mini-stroke, involves temporary stroke-like symptoms and is a critical warning sign of potential future strokes, necessitating immediate medical attention.

**Risk Factors and Symptoms**

Strokes can occur at any age and often without clear reasons. However, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of a stroke. These include unmodifiable factors and those that can be mitigated through lifestyle changes or medication.

Recognizing Stroke Symptoms

Key symptoms to watch for include sudden headaches, confusion, numbness, and difficulty with coordination. An easy mnemonic to remember is FAST:

  • F (Face): Is their face drooping on one side? Can they smile?
  • A (Arms): Can they raise both arms and keep them level?
  • S (Speech): Is their speech slurred or are they having trouble speaking?
  • T (Time): If any of these signs are evident, immediately call emergency services.

**First Response to a Stroke**

If you're first on the scene, assist the person by gently helping them to the floor, positioning them on their affected side, and covering them with a blanket. Keep them calm and maintain their dignity, especially if they lose control of bladder or bowel functions.

Emotional Support for First Responders

Responding to a stroke can be emotionally taxing. It's important to seek support from friends or medical professionals if needed.