A stroke is a condition affecting the brain, when the blood supply to the brain is blocked, leading to brain damage. A stroke can also be caused by bleeding into the brain although this type of stroke is less common.
The damaged caused by a stroke affects the part of the body controlled by that particular section of the brain. It is a very common condition, and is slightly more frequent in men than in women. Strokes become more common as people get older.
Strokes that involve the blocking of an artery (ischaemic strokes) can be seen as a similar process to heart attacks. Furred-up arteries become blocked and stop the blood carrying nutrients and oxygen to the brain.
Symptoms of a stroke often come on quite suddenly, and can include: weakness on one side of the body, slurred or difficult speech, a change in the feeling of the affected side, difficulties with swallowing, and changes in vision.
Stroke is a serious condition, and can have long-term effects on a person's life. The improvement of some symptoms, such as weakness on one side of the body, can take many months and the patient might never make a complete recovery. Recovery can be helped greatly by the input of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and family members.