Basically, a stroke is a brain attack – a sudden interruption of blood flow to parts of the brain causing damage to the brain cells. There are two ways a stroke happens: either a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain (Ischaemic Stroke) or a blood vessel in the brain bursts (Brain Haemorrhage).
The sooner medical attention is received, the less damage the stroke will cause. That is why it is important for everyone to recognise the signs right away. Stroke is always a medical emergency. Even if the symptoms don’t cause pain or go away quickly, call 111 immediately.
The symptoms are FAST:
- Face – Does the person’s face look different? Is one side of the face droopy?
- Arms – Can the person raise both arms? Is one side weak?
- Speech – Speak a little sentence. Is the person able to, is the speech slurred?
- Time – Lost time could be lost brain. Get to hospital FAST!
10 Key Facts About Stroke
- Stroke is the second single largest killer in New Zealand (more than 8000 people every year).
- Every day, 22 New Zealanders have a stroke.
- Stroke is the major cause of adult disability in New Zealand.
- Stroke is largely preventable, yet 8000 New Zealanders a year suffer a stroke – a third of which are fatal.
- There are 56,000 stroke survivors in New Zealand, many of whom have disabilities and need significant daily support.
- Stroke recovery can continue throughout life, but there is little ongoing rehabilitation provided for stroke survivors nationally.
- At least one in three New Zealanders can’t recognise the signs of a stroke. Delayed recognition means delayed medical intervention. Delayed recognition means delayed medical intervention. Delayed medical intervention can have tragic consequences.
- High blood pressure is a major cause of strokes. One in five New Zealanders have high blood pressure, and a third of these don’t know it. Reducing blood pressure can greatly reduce stroke risk.
- Stroke is a medical emergency – yet most New Zealanders do not have access to acceptable stroke hospital services.
- The Stroke Foundation is New Zealand’s only organisation solely dedicated to reducing the risks of stroke, and improving outcomes or the stroke-affected.
From ‘Understanding and Preventing Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack’ – Published by The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand Inc. For more information about understanding stroke, please see the national website here.