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What causes a stroke?

A stroke is caused by a sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain.  

  • 80% are caused by a blood clot blocking one of the small veins in the brain: an “ischaemic stroke”. This brings about a reduction in oxygen flow and can cause the surrounding cells to die or be damaged. 
  • 20% of strokes are due to a burst or leaking blood vessel – this is a “haemorrhagic stroke” and has a similar effect. 

Depending upon the severity of the damage, the affected cells may or may not fully recover over time.

These different types may also be referred to as a Cerebral Infarction, Cerebral Thrombosis, Cerebral Haemorrhage or Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA). You may hear or see these terms in communications with your doctors and other health professionals.

The effects of a stroke are very varied, and may cause paralysis (usually on one side), problems with balance and coordination, loss of speech, and comprehension and memory problems. A stroke is very individual and will affect everyone differently.  Find out more about the effects and impact of stroke.


The FAST message

This world-wide campaign has raised awareness of the symptoms of stroke and the need to take action if stroke is suspected. New treatments for blood clots are very effective but have to be undertaken very quickly after first symptoms appear. The faster you act, the better the chance of recovery.

If you suspect a stroke, dial 999 for an ambulance and explain the symptoms.


Note: Bristol After Stroke is not qualified to give medical advice on your stroke, TIA or medication. Any concerns of this nature should be taken up with your GP/Consultant.

Bristol After Stroke is registered in England and Wales under charity number 287554 at The Gatehouse Centre, Hareclive Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol, BS13 9JN. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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