First Aid Refresher – Strokes

The next two week’s topics are very close to my heart after my mum suffered from a stroke last year along with diabetes. This is what made me sit up and address my work life balance and change careers after nearly twenty years in Leadership and Development roles! As part of my training to become a First Aid instructor, this First Aid topic was chosen as my assessment piece. So today’s First Aid topic is strokes.

A few key statistics about strokes 

  • There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes.
  • There are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK.
  • Every two seconds, someone in the world will have a stroke.
  • Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK.
  • There are over 400 childhood strokes a year in the UK.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the UK – almost two thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability.
  • More than 8 out of 10 people in the UK who are eligible for the emergency clot-busting treatment thrombolysis receive it.
  • Only 3 out of 10 stroke survivors who need a six month assessment of their health and social care needs receive one.
  • The NHS and social care costs of stroke are around £1.7 billion a year in England.

(stats taken from state of the nation 2017 From the stroke

Jane Rawlings - Emergency Stroke Signs

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain. Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die. This damage can have different effects, depending on where it happens in your brain. A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how you think, feel and communicate.

Different types of stroke

Most strokes are caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain. This is an ischaemic stroke. However, strokes can also be caused by a bleeding in or around the brain. This is a haemorrhagic stroke.

A transient ischaemic attack or TIA is also known as a mini-stroke. It is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms last for a short amount of time and no longer than 24 hours. This is because the blockage that stops the blood getting to your brain is temporary.

In tomorrow’s First Aid blog, we will look at signs and symptoms of a stroke.

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