A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Blood contains oxygen and nutrients for your brain cells and when they do not get enough of these, they die. There are two different types of stroke; ischaemic which is caused by a blocked artery and a haemorrhagic stroke which is caused by a burst artery or bleed in the brain.

Different types of stroke have different causes however some general risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Being aged 55 years and older
  • A personal or family history of stroke
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • A tendency to drink heavily, smoke or use illicit drugs

When it comes to treating a stroke, time is a critical factor. To help identify whether someone may be having a stroke you can use the FAST method.

Face – Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arm – Can the person raise both arms?

Speech – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time – Act FAST call 000

Other symptoms that may indicate a stroke include dizziness, loss of balance, loss of vision, severe headaches with unexplained change in pattern, and difficulty eating and drinking.

People can prevent their risk of suffering from a stroke by:

  • Managing blood pressure so that it is within a healthy range
  • Reducing cholesterol and intake of saturated fats
  • Managing Diabetes
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid alcohol or drink moderately

For further information, visit the Stroke Foundation website at If you need help managing any of the above conditions, please contact your local Pro Health Care centre.

Pro Medical SA

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