What is a stroke?
Put simply, a stroke happens when blood can’t get to the brain and brain cells are damaged and die. A stroke happens suddenly and can damage:
- bodily functions
- our thought processes
- our ability to learn, and
- how we feel and communicate.
On this site you will find useful information about what a stroke is, different types of stroke and how to recognise symptoms. You can also download or order our leaflet What is a stroke?
Who is most at risk of stroke?
Anybody can have a stroke: people of any race, any age (including children), either sex and any background. But some parts of the population are at increased risk. This site provides more information about who is at risk and sets out particular information about children who have a stroke, as the causes and recovery for children are different to those for adults.
One of the most important areas of our work is encouraging people to reduce the risk of stroke. There are factors that we can’t influence (for example our age, race and sex), but we can start to live healthier lifestyles by stopping smoking, reducing our alcohol intake, exercising and eating more healthily, for example.
Find out more about stroke prevention.
How long does it take to recover from a stroke?
There is no simple answer to this question. Just as everybody is affected differently by their stroke, everybody has their own journey of recovery. Some people will make a full recovery and others may not. Most people will experience their fastest period of recovery in the days and weeks immediately after a stroke, and this will be followed by a longer period of slower rehabilitation.
Read our leaflet The road to recovery to find out more.
Is it true that people of certain racial origins are more likely to have a stroke?
Stroke affects all sections of the population, and nobody is exempt from risk. Even children can have a stroke. But it is true that people of South Asian or African-Caribbean origin in the UK are at increased risk. At the moment, we are not sure why this is the case. But there are ways in which people of these racial origins can reduce their risk of stroke.