Patient information for keeping a healthy heart

The purpose of this section of the Healthy Hearts website is to provide access to good quality, appropriate information for patients and their families/carers about blood pressure, cholesterol and advice to make positive changes to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.

Click a box below for more information on each topic:

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off or there is a bleed around the brain.

Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain. Without blood your brain cells can be damaged or die. This damage can have different effects, depending on where it happens in your brain. A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how you think, feel and communicate.

Most strokes are caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to part of the brain. This is an ischaemic stroke. However, strokes can also be caused by a bleeding in or around the brain. This is a haemorrhagic stroke.

What should we do if someone is having a stroke? Act F.A.S.T

Public Health England launched the Act F.A.S.T campaign to show people how to spot some signs of a stroke. Stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. If you see any of the signs of stroke you must call 999.

Face - Has it fallen on one side?

Arms - Can they raise them?

Speech - Is it slurred?

Time - If you notice any of these signs dial 999

What causes stroke?

Unfortunately a stroke or a mini-stroke (known as a transient ischaemic attack [TIA]) could happen to anyone at any time. Most strokes happen when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to part of the brain.

Blood clots usually form in areas where our arteries have become narrowed or ‘furred’ up by fatty deposits. This increases the risk of them becoming blocked and causing a stroke. However, there are other factors that can speed up this process, or make our blood more likely to clot.

Some risk factors for stroke you can't change, for example your age, your ethnicity, your family history and genetic conditions. Younger people can have strokes too, including children.

One in four strokes in the UK happen in people under the age of 65. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of stroke which include high blood pressure, diabetes, irregular heart beat (called atrial fibrillation [AF]), and high cholesterol.

The way we live also has a big impact on our risk of stroke. Things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating unhealthy foods can damage blood vessels and raise blood pressure, both of which put you at greater risk of having a stroke.

Anyone can have a stroke, but there are some things that increase your risk.

  • Some risk factors you can't change, for example your age, your ethnicity, your family history and genetic conditions.
  • Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of stroke which include high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation (AF), and high cholesterol.
  • The way we live has a big impact on our risk of stroke. Things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating unhealthy foods can damage your blood vessels, raise your cholesterol, increase your blood pressure and make your blood more likely to clot.

There are lots of simple changes you can make to your lifestyle that can reduce your risk of stroke.

Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of stroke which include high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation (AF), and high cholesterol.

The way we live has a big impact on our risk of stroke. Things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating unhealthy foods can damage your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure and make your blood more likely to clot.  There are lots of simple changes you can make to your lifestyle that can reduce your risk of stroke.

What is a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)?

A transient ischaemic attack or TIA is also known as a mini-stroke. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) should be treated as an emergency - many people go on to have a full stroke in the days or weeks after. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms last for a short amount of time. This is because the blockage that stops the blood getting to your brain is temporary. Although the symptoms may not last long, a TIA is still very serious. It is a sign that there is a problem and you are at risk of having a stroke. Because of this, a TIA is often called a warning stroke. If someone experiences temporary stroke like symptoms, medical advice should be obtained urgently.

What you can do to prevent a stroke?

STRIKE is a good way to remember how you can prevent a stroke.

ST - Stay aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke/mini stroke (TIA) and what to do if they occur.

RI - Risk factors increase your chances of a stroke. Be aware of them:

•                  High blood pressure

•                  Irregular heartbeat/rhythm

•                  High cholesterol

•                  Family history

•                  Diabetes

•                  Other long-term health conditions

K - Know your numbers; know your pulse: have regular checks of your blood pressure and heart beat/rhythm.

E - Ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle:

•                  Eat a healthy, balanced diet

•                  Be active

•                  Don’t smoke

•                  Avoid drinking too much alcohol


Stroke Information Guide-1_Button.pngThis information is available in our Stroke Information Guide

Organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria have worked together to create an easy to understand Stroke Information Guide to provide access to good quality, appropriate information for professionals, stroke patients, their families and carers and anyone affected by stroke.

The information within the guide aims to be useful to aid recovery and prevent an initial or further stroke.

The guide was created with the involvement of health and care professionals, local people, stroke survivors and their carers and relatives.

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