What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a severe life-threatening condition that occurs when there is a temporary interruption of blood to the brain. The lack of blood supply may be caused by a clot or a bleed in the brain, caused by trauma or a ruptured aortic aneurism.
Strokes are a medical emergency, and urgent treatment is essential.
The quicker a person receives treatment; the less damage is likely to happen.
What are the main causes?
There are many causes of a stroke. The following is a list of possible causes, but this list is not exhaustive:
- Genetical defect (Aneurism)
- High blood pressure (Hyper-tension)
- Thrombosis (Blood clotting)
- Lifestyle – Diet, drinking, smoking
In our First Aid Courses, we discuss Strokes in more detail.
What are the different types?
There are three different types, which are described below:
- The most common type is an ischaemic stroke. It is caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain.
- When bleeding in or around the brain happens a haemorrhagic stroke occurs.
- A mini-stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is the third type of stroke. It is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms only last for a short amount of time. It is because the blockage that stops the blood getting to your brain is temporary.
How to recognise the symptoms
According to the Stroke Association, in the UK a stroke strikes every five minutes. It can happen at any time to anyone, of any age. It’s vital to know how to spot the warning signs.
Early recognition is essential, and the sooner it can be identified, the more effective treatment may be.
The best way to identify a potential stroke is FAST
FACE – Has the face has dropped on one side. Can they smile?
ARMS – Can they raise both arms at the same time and keep them raised?
SPEECH – Is their speech slurred?
TIME – Time to call 999 / 112 if the patient displays any of these signs.
The casualty may complain of a “Thunderclap” headache or the worst headache ever. They may also have a flushed red face, be unable to walk and be incontinent. If you are unsure CALL 999 / 112
What not to do
If you believe someone is having a stroke, it is important not to
- Move the casualty unless they are in danger
- Induce vomiting
- Give them anything to eat or drink
Can I reduce the risk of having a stroke?
Yes. Go for regular health checks and make positive lifestyle changes.
Envesca offers a number of different first aid courses, which offer advice and guidance on strokes.