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50 Health & Fitness Make May purple In England, one in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. And in the UK, strokes occurs approximately 152,000 times a year – that’s one every 3 minutes 27 seconds. First-time incidence of a stroke occurs almost 17 million times a year worldwide; one every two seconds. It is estimated around 30% of people who have a stroke will go on to experience another. Strokes are a leading cause of death and disability in the UK, with around 32,000 stroke-related deaths in England each year. Most people who have strokes are over 65, but one in four strokes happen in younger people. That’s nearly 40,000 people a year including several hundred children. There’s no denying that a stroke can be fatal, but it’s worth noting there are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK. Deaths related to strokes have declined by 49% in the past 15 years, and this is down to better prevention, earlier treatment and more advanced treatment. It’s important to act quickly as you could save your own or someone else’s life, or help limit the longterm effects of strokes, by learning to think and Act F.A.S.T. What is a stroke? A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die. This damage can have different effects, depending on where it happens in your brain. By Niamh Ollerton Photos courtesy of the Stroke Association
51 A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how you think, feel and communicate. What causes a stroke? As we age, our arteries become harder and narrower and are more likely to become blocked. But, some medical conditions and lifestyle factors can speed up this process and increase your risk. Different types of stroke Most strokes are caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain. This is an ischaemic stroke. But they can also be caused by a bleeding in or around the brain. This is a haemorrhagic stroke. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is also known as a mini-stroke. It’s the same as a stroke, except symptoms only last for a short amount of time, as the blockage stopping the blood getting to your brain is temporary. Can you recover from a stroke? For some people the effects may be relatively minor and not last long, but others may be left with serious health problems that make them dependent on other people. Know the signs of a stroke F.A.S.T. or Face-Arms-Speech-Time is easy to remember and will help you to recognise if you or someone else is having a stroke. Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile? Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there? Speech – is their speech slurred? Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs of a stroke. Other symptoms that can be due to a stroke also include: Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes; Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body (including your leg);