What causes a stroke

A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Damage to the brain can affect how the body works. It can also change how you think and feel. The effects of a stroke depend on where it takes place in the brain, and how big the damaged area is.

Types of stroke

There are three different types of stroke:

Ischaemic stroke

This is caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain.

Haemorrhagic stroke

This is caused by bleeding in or around the brain.

Transient ischaemic attack

TIA is also known as a mini-stroke.

Risk factors

As we age, our arteries become harder and narrower and more likely to become blocked. However, certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors can speed up this process and increase your risk of having a stroke.

Main risk factors for stroke

Other factors

Anyone can have a stroke

Many people think that strokes only happen to older people, but stroke can strike anyone, at any time.

It's vital to know how to spot the signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else. Use the FAST test to help you recognise the signs.

While most people who have a stroke are older, younger people can have strokes too, including children. One in four strokes in the UK happens to people of working age.

There are lots of things you can do to reduce your risk. With simple checks, your GP can help you understand your risk of stroke, and support you to make the changes necessary to reduce your risk.

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