Your brain needs a constant supply of blood to work properly.A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off, causing your brain cells to become damaged or die.
The two most common types of stroke are ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke:
Without a constant blood supply, your brain cells will be damaged or die, which can affect the way your body and mind work.
Act F.A.S.T to recognise the symptoms.
Facial weakness – can they smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped? Arm weakness – can they raise both arms? Speech problems – can they speak clearly and can they understand what you are saying? Time – Respond to the condition – if you think someone is having a stroke, call for an ambulance.
A transient ischaemic attack (also called a TIA or mini-stroke) happens when there is a temporary blockage in the blood supply to the brain. A TIA doesn’t cause permanent damage to your brain and the symptoms usually pass within 24 hours.
It’s often hard to tell the difference between a stroke or TIA, so if you think someone is having a TIA you should still call the ambulance. A TIA can be an important warning that there is a problem with the blood supply to your brain.
A risk factor is something that that increases your likelihood of getting a disease. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to have a stroke.
Take a look at our cardiovascular disease page to find out about the risk factors for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease.