Check Up - Strokes

Every year about 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including children and even babies. On this edition of Check Up, Barbara Myers puts listeners' questions about strokes to Lalit Kalra, Professor of Stroke Medicine at King's College Hospital, London. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK. It is also a leading cause of severe adult disability. More than 250,000 people live with disabilities caused by stroke. A stroke is what happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without a blood supply, essential nutrients and oxygen can’t get to the brain’s cells and they become damaged or die. A stroke is sudden and the effects on the body are immediate. The person will be affected according to which part of the brain is damaged: if a stroke damages the part of the brain that controls speech or how limbs move then limb movement or speech will be affected. A stroke can also affect how people feel. Strokes are caused either by a blockage, when a clot blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain, or when a blood vessel bursts causing a bleed into the brain. Symptoms of stroke include numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, slurred speech or difficulty finding words or understanding speech, sudden blurred vision or loss of sight, confusion or unsteadiness or a severe headache. Paramedics are trained use FAST - the Face, Arm, Speech Test - but anyone can look at these key areas affected by stroke to decide whether a friend or relative needs to get to hospital quickly to be assessed. Tests including scans should be carried out quickly to assess the cause of the stroke. Blood-thinning drugs may be given where a clot is involved. A so-called mini-stroke or TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) shouldn't be ignored as it could lead to a major stroke. Your GP should refer you to a specialist stroke service within 7 days if you have experienced a TIA. Following a stroke up to 1/3 of patients are left with a disability - and multi-disciplinary teams can help with rehabilitation and physiotherapy to re-learn skills or overcome any limitations caused by their stroke.


  • 2008-06-12 15:00:00 - 2008-06-12 15:27:00 on Radio 4 FM, Radio 4 LW,