A stroke is not something you prepare for. So you're going to have a lot of questions when it happens. We've answered some of the questions that you're likely to have, including details of how to find out more.

What's happened?

Because a stroke happens so quickly, people sometimes leave the hospital without being completely sure what's happened or why. You need to understand what a stroke is and the things that make it more likely to happen, so that you can do all you can to reduce the risk of it happening again.

Will I get better?

Because every stroke is different, there is no set pattern for recovering from one. So it can be difficult to say how well or how quickly you'll recover.

It's likely that you'll see some immediate recovery in the first few days and weeks after your stroke. But recovery can continue for months and years after a stroke.

Getting better will involve rehabilitation, which is about re-learning skills, and adapting to the effects of your stroke. The aim is to enable you to be as independent as possible and make the best recovery possible for you. Your therapists will work with you to set goals. You may do exercises and activities, and learn new ways of doing things. You should start therapy as soon as possible after a stroke. If new effects of stroke appear later on, you can ask for more therapy.

Will I have another stroke?

For many stroke survivors, their greatest fear is having another stroke.

Once you've had a stroke your risk of having another is increased, but understanding what factors may have caused your stroke will help you know how to reduce your risk of having another one. If you're not clear, go back to your GP and ask for more information about your own risk of a stroke.

How do I cope with what's happened?

Stroke brings a lot of questions and uncertainty with it. Coping with this can be overwhelming for both you and the people around you. Fear of another stroke, anger and grief about the things you've lost, shock and helplessness are all-natural emotions to have after a stroke.

Coping with these emotions is not easy. If you feel anxious or low, speak to someone about how you feel. You can try talking to family and friends, or visit your GP to ask what support is available. Therapists and social workers can advise you on finding practical and financial support.

Five things you need to know

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if it's weeks or months later. It's important that you understand what happened and why.

  • Coping with the impact of stroke is not easy but the best thing to do is talk about it with the people around you and professionals who can offer support.

  • Friendships can slip away after a stroke but friends are important. Talk to them about what has happened as they may not appreciate the impact that your stroke has had on you.

  • Remember that recovery takes time and patience, as well as practice and determination. Some days will be harder than others but the important thing is to keep going.

  • Don't forget, the Stroke Association is here to help you. Whether you want to know more about stroke and its effects, are looking for practical information and support, or simply need someone to talk to, there are lots of ways that we can help.

Find out more

  • If you have any questions at all about stroke, call our Stroke Helpline.

  • We also have support services across the UK including coordinators who can offer advice and support and stroke clubs and groups where you can meet other people affected by stroke. Find out what's available in your area.

  • We have information on all aspects of stroke, so take a look at our publications library. Our Next steps after a stroke guide may be a good place to start, as it tells you about what to expect when you've had a stroke and the people who can help you in your recovery.