A stroke happens when blood flow to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die. Strokes are sudden and have an immediate effect.
You can recognise a stroke using the FAST test.
Facial weakness: can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness: can the person raise both arms?
Speech: can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
Time: time to call an ambulance if you see any one of these signs
Stroke is a medical emergency and if you recognise the signs of a stroke you must dial 999.
The quicker you can respond to a stroke can help reduce the damage to the brain and improve the chances of full recovery.
There are two main types of stroke –
ischaemic – where the blood supply is stopped because of a blood clot, accounting for 85% of all cases
haemorrhagic – where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts
A Mini stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack or TIA for short is caused by a temporally interruption to the blood flow to the brain. The effects can last between a few minutes or 24 hours, however, this is a warning sign that you may be at risk of having a major stroke in the future. Even though a mini stroke effects are temporary, you still need to seek emergency medical treatment ASAP.
Who is at Risk of Stroke?
Every year about 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. That's one person every five minutes.
Strokes can happen to anyone, but some groups have a higher risk of stroke -
older people - most people who have a stroke are over 55, and the risk increases with age
people who have had a stroke or Mini Stroke in the past
people of South Asian or African-Caribbean background
None of these factors mean that you will necessarily have a stroke, but it is useful to be aware if you are at increased risk so that you can take steps to live a healthier lifestyle.
Here are simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of stroke –
eat a healthy diet
reduce your alcohol intake
You can find more information on improving your health and wellbeing on our staying healthy section
Strokes affect people in different ways. The effects of stroke depend on when and how much damaged was done because of the Stroke. How healthy the person was prior to having a stroke is also a factor on how a stroke might affect you.
No two people are alike but the common after-effects of someone who is recovering from stroke are –
difficulty with concentration and paying attention
Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
incontinence constipation, or problems passing water
muscle weakness of the body, often affecting one limb or one side of the body
numbness, pins-and-needles, tingling or unusual sensitivity in the limbs
paralysis - being unable to move part of the body
struggling to making plans or decisions
tightness, stiffness or pain in muscles (muscle spasticity)
A Doctor or Occupational therapist will often carry out an assessment to see what physical, physiological and cognitive problems you may have. They can then identify strategies to help you manage these problems.
Recovering from a Stroke
Stroke affects everybody differently, and people recover from stroke at different rates. It is impossible to say immediately after a stroke if or when a person will be able to return to the day-to-day life they lived previously.
Depending on the severity of the stroke determines where you will begin your stroke recovery. Once admitted to hospital you will be admitted to a designated stroke ward at Hull Royal Infirmary Ward 110 where your stroke recovery begins.
A multidisciplinary team of Stroke Consultants, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and language Therapists complete their assessments to identify what support and rehabilitation you will need to support your recovery.
If you have had a small stroke and can be safely discharged home, the Community Stroke Therapy Team and Community Stroke carers can visit you at home to continue your ongoing recovery.
If you have a larger stroke you may need to be transferred to our Stroke Rehabilitation Unit (Rossmore) were your ongoing stroke recovery will continue with a multi-disciplinary team of stroke professionals working with you every day to continue your recovery away from a hospital setting.
You will have a dedicated stroke social worker to support you with your discharge home and any benefit advice and social support you and your family need.
PAUL for Brain Recovery
PAUL for Brain Recovery provides support and guidance for people that have been affected by acquired brain injury (ABI). They work with each person to help them reach their full potential and overcome the subsequent challenges that follow at different stages of their recovery.
Details of the specific recovery pathways they offer can be found below
Thickened drinks are normal drinks that have a thickener added to make them thicker. They are often recommended for people who can no longer swallow normal fluids safely since their stroke. This is because drinks go into their lungs, causing coughing, choking or more serious risks such as chest infection and aspiration pneumonia
To improve the safety of swallowing, it is important to follow the recommendations made by the Speech and Language Therapist regarding the consistency of fluids and type of food consistency you can manage to eat. (Follow the IDDSI guidelines below)
When thickened fluids are recommended, this means ALL fluids need to be thickened to the recommended consistency e.g.-
Hot drinks including water - tea and coffee
Cold drinks including water, juices, fizzy drinks
Supplement drinks, e.g. Ensure, food supplement drinks, Calshake etc.
International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Imitative Guidelines (IDDSI)
IDDSI has developed a standard terminology with a colour and numerical index to describe texture modification for food and drink. This framework has been adopted by all UK manufacturers and health care settings.
The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative 2016 @http://iddsi.org/framework/.?Attribution is NOT PERMITTED for derivative works incorporating any alterations to the IDDSI Framework that extend beyond language translation. Supplementary Notice: Modification of the diagrams or descriptors within the IDDSI Framework is DISCOURAGED and NOT RECOMMENDED. Alterations to elements of the IDDSI framework may lead to confusion and errors in diet texture or drink selection for patients with dysphagia. Such errors have previously been associated with adverse events including choking and death.
The Stroke association are the UK’s leading charity dedicated to conquering stroke. They deliver stroke services across the UK, campaign for better stroke care, invest in research and fundraise to expand their reach to as many stroke survivors as possible.
They also have a vast amount of advice and information on a wide range of topics that someone with a stroke might need support with. You can access these in various different formats including, slandered leaflet, large print, Braille, or listen to them by using the audio files. To help you find this information quickly, we have provided links to these publications which you can access on the right hand side of this page.