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What is a Stroke? (HealthSketch)

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Hello, in this HealthSketch we want to talk to you about stroke.

It's a bit of an odd name, stroke.

It certainly has nothing to do with tennis strokes,

swimming strokes or brush strokes.

The word stroke comes from the idea receiving a 'strike' or 'blow'

as that is how quickly strokes appear - all of a sudden people are struck by this illness.

Did you know that every year more than 15 million people worldwide have a stroke?

Of these, five million die and another five million are left disabled.

Whilst most strokes occur in people over the age of 65

they can occur in much younger people too.

But what exactly is a stroke?

The brain, like all parts of the body, needs oxygen, which it gets from the blood.

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is cut off.

When brain cells are starved of oxygen, they become damaged,

and the symptoms that follow are called a stroke.

As the brain controls the whole body, the symptoms of a stroke can be wide-ranging,

depending on which parts of the brain are affected.

If the stroke occurs here, it would cause a drooping face,

here, weakness in the arms or legs,

or here, difficulty speaking.

Other symptoms can happen too, like changes to vision,