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Understanding Stroke

When a stroke happens , part of the brain loses its blood supply. This damages the brain. A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical emergency that requires urgent treatment. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, call 1122 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

F.A.S.T : A way to spot the signs of stroke 

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.

Face - Look at the person's face. Can he/she smile? Has their face drooped or fallen on one side?

Arms - Ask the person to raise both arms and keep them there. If the person can raise only one arm it can be a sign of stroke.

Speech problems - Notice the speech of the person. Can he/she clearly speak and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?

Time - If you see any of these three signs, it's time to call Rescue 1122 right away. Remember every minute counts. Due to a stroke attack , a person loses about 2 million brain cells every minute that is why it's important to get emergency medical care right away. The sooner the better!

These are the main signs of stroke but there can be some other signs to look out for:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side, including legs, hands, or feet
  • Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall
  • A sudden and severe headache

" Stroke can happen to anyone, at any age. Every second counts. If you spot any of these signs, don't wait"

Causes of stroke

Like the rest of the body organs, brain also needs oxygen and nutrients rich blood to funtion optimally. Of the blood supply is cut off, bain cells begins to die, leading to brain injury, disability or even untimely death. There are two main types of stroke, each with a separate cause:

Ischemic stroke - It happens due to a blood clot. It is main cause behind majority of stroke cases. Ischemic stroke is often called a clot. 

Haemorrhagic stroke - It happens due to bleeding in or around the brain usually it is due to bursting of a weakend blood vessel. Haemorrhagic stroke is often called a bleed. 

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) - It happens when the blood supply to brain is temporarily cut off or interrupted. This type of stroke is also known as a mini-stroke. It can last from just a few minutes or, or alternatively, persist up to 24 hours. TIA is often a warning sign that the person is at a risk of having a full stroke in the near future. Seek medical advise even if the symptoms resolve on their own.

Other reasons - Certain diseases increase risk of stroke which includes hypertension/high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat).

Effects of stroke

The effects of a stroke depends on two things:

  1. Location of stroke in your brain
  2. Level of brain damage due to stroke

Every stroke is different and unique and so is the recovery process. By and large stroke can affect:

  1. Memory and thinking
  2. Vision
  3. Speech
  4. Arm and hand weakness
  5. Bowel and bladder control
  6. Muscles and joint pain
  7. Numb skin
  8. Leg weakness and balance

After a stroke, the person might also feel fatigue that doesnot get better with rest.Feeling low is also quite common after a stroke attack.This disease can also bring changes in the person's behavior such as irritability, impulsiveness etc. Stroke can also bring personality changes such as he/she may become outspoken and exhibit mood swings. These hidden changes are aftermath of a stroke attack.

Many people have trouble communicating after a stroke. It may happen due to damage to language areas of your brain. This disease is known aphasia. People living with aphasia face problems using the language. They may find it hard to speak, read, write and use numbers. Having aphasia simply means that the person has language disability. It doent mean that due to aphasia makes people less intelligent or smart than they were earlier. 

The slurred speech after a stroke attack is usually due to weakening of face muscles.Stroke can also cause memeory and concentrations problems that makes communication a bit harder for people. So caregiver and family member must be patient and give time to the person to let them arrange their thoughts and communicate. The support from family and friends imparts a positive impact on the person's emotional and mental well being. Be kind, be compassionate.

Your Recovery journey after stroke

It is not unusual to feel low after a stroke attack but energy levels may return after a while. its takes time for the body and brain to heal. Many problems after stroke can turn out to be temporary health issues. Most people, if not all get back control of bladder and bowels. Most people are able to walk and speak again soon after a stroke. Swallowing , eating and drinkings also gets easier with time. After a few day and weeks many other problems also start to go away. So try not to lose hope and give up at this stage, keep fighting. Remember the recovery after stroke depends on the level of brain damage.Therefore it is essential to seek medical help right away if you see someone having stroke.


Many people need some kind of rehabilitation therapy after stroke. It not only makes recovery possible for the person but also helps re-learn skills for every day life. Therapy session usually starts soon after stroke. Exercises are generally advised to build stamina and speed up the recovery process. Bilal Hospital offers various types of therapy to stroke patients which includes:

Physiotherapy - A certfied physiotherapist helps with strength , mobility, balance and stamina. It also helps the patient regain independence by re-learning skills for everyday life. Our Physiotherapy clinic offers individual therapy sessions for stroke patients. 

Speech and language therapy (SLT) - A trained speech therapist helps you improve speech, provide treatment for swallowing and eating difficulties. We also provide help with reading and writing. Bilal Hospital speech therapy clinic all types of treatments options for language and eating disabilities after stroke.

Psychiatrist - A certified and highly trained psychiatrist with more than a decade of experience provides individual therapy session for stroke patients. Our psychiatrist helps people with memory and thinking difficulties, emotional problems like depression.

Dietitian - A (PNDS) registered dietitian provides support to people with swallowing and eating difficulties and advises on healthy eating. Bilal Hospital Nutrition clinic offers individual diet plans and dietary guidelines based on the stroke patient's needs.


If you have diabetes , high blood pressure or had a mini stroke kindly visit our Neurology clinic for consultation.For dietary counseling visit or Nutrition clinic. You can also visit our speech therapy clinic if you have post stroke health complications. For any kind of stress or mental health issues after stroke , please do visit our Psychiatry clinic for consultation.