What can lead to a stroke?

A stroke is a medical emergency. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted or reduced.

When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

Types of stroke

1. Ischemic

Ischemic stroke occurs as a result occur when the arteries in your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow.

2. Haemorrhagic

Haemorrhagic stroke occurs when a brain aneurysm bursts or a weakened blood vessel leaks. A brain aneurism is a weakness in a blood vessel in the brain that balloons and fills with blood.

The main cause of haemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure, which can weaken the arteries in the brain and make them prone to split or rupture.

3. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

It is usually referred to as a “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.

Warning signs of stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body).
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden difficulty walking or dizziness, loss of balance or problems with coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

Risk factors

A risk factor is any attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury.

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy or binge drinking
  • Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
  • Age – older have a higher risk of stroke than do younger people
  • Gender – men have a higher risk than women


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