What is Stroke?

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand (about 2000 people every year) and a leading cause of adult disability.Up to 80% of strokes are preventable; you can prevent a stroke! Around 10 percent of stroke deaths occur in people under 65.

What is a stroke?A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a  blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood  vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks,  interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.  When either of these  things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that  area of the brain are lost.  These abilities include speech, movement  and memory.  How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the  stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

What is Stroke?
A cross section Image of the brain
For example, someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor problems such as weakness of an arm or leg.  People who have larger  strokes may be paralysed on one side or lose their ability to speak.   Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of  survivors will have some type of disability.

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