Learning About Stroke

What causes a stroke? Learn about the different types of strokes and how to identify the signs

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About Stroke

What is Stroke?

Normal brain function requires oxygen and nutrients which are supplied by blood through blood vessels. A stroke occurs when there is a disruption of blood flow to the brain. The area of the brain which is deprived of blood is thus damaged, resulting in signs and symptoms of stroke.

Garden Analogy of How Stroke Occurs
An analogy of stroke using a garden with pipes supplying water to explain how stroke occurs.

How Common is Stroke?

  • 1 in 6 people will suffer from a stroke in their lifetime.

  • It can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status.

Types of Stroke

There are 2 main types of stroke.

Ischaemic Stroke: ‘Blocked Artery’

Ischaemic Stroke 

It is the most common type of stroke. This occurs when a blood clot is lodged in an artery and cuts off blood supply to the brain. It is usually caused by either:

Embolism 

 

“Embolism”: a blood clot from the heart is dislodged and travels to the brain.

Thrombosis 

 

“Thrombosis”: blockage of a brain blood vessel due to underlying narrowing from fatty plaque formation.

Haemorrhagic Stroke: ‘Burst Artery’

Haemorrhagic Stroke Cerebral Aneursym 

This occurs when there is a rupture of a blood vessel causing bleeding in the brain. It is usually caused by:

  • High blood pressure.

  • Defects in the blood vessel wall such as cerebral aneurysms.

Transient Ischaemic Stroke (TIA) – “Mini-stroke”

  • It happens when there is a temporary interruption of blood supply to the brain.

  • Thus there is no permanent brain damage and the symptoms go away completely within a few minutes.

Related: You Can Spot a Stroke​​​​

About the Brain

  • The brain has 2 sides (right and left) and is divided into several areas that control different functions.

  • The location of the brain damage will determine the signs and symptoms of stroke.

Left Brain Functions vs. Right Brain Functions 

Your doctors may describe the location of your stroke. Here are the different part of the brain.

  • Frontal Lobe

  • Parietal Lobe

  • Temporal Lobe

  • Occipital Lobe

  • Cerebellum

  • Brainstem

Related: When The Brain is Ill

​​Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

It is important to understand that every patient is affected by stroke differently.

The signs and symptoms of stroke depend on the area of damage in the brain.

Physical

Physical Signs of Strokes.jpg 

Weakness

  • You may experience weakness in one or both sides of the body. This weakness varies in severity.

  • Weakness of the face muscle may result in facial drooping, drooling and speech difficulty.

Incoordination of Movements

  • You may experience difficulty in standing, walking or performing delicate tasks.

Refer to physiotherapy and occupational therapy fact sheets for more information.

Sensation

Sensations in Hands.jpg 

Numbness

  • You may experience reduced or loss of sensation over one side or specific parts of your body.

  • You may experience abnormal extra feeling over one side of your body such as tingling or electric sensation.

Vision

Visual Signs of Stroke 

Visual Impairment

  • You may experience double vision or loss of vision in one side or area of your visual field.

Communication

communication.jpg 

Slurring of Speech (“Dysarthria”)

  • You may experience difficulty in articulating words. This may cause your speech to be unclear, slow or soft.

Language Impairment (“Dysphasia”)

  • You may experience inability to understand or express words, phrases and sentences, in both verbal and written form.

Refer to speech therapy fact sheets for more information.

Swallowing

Difficulty with Swallowing 

Difficulty with Swallowing (“Dysphagia”)

  • You may experience difficulty with drinking and eating. It can cause coughing and choking leading to an increase risk of lung infection.

Refer to swallowing problem fact sheets for more information.


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