Stroke factfile: the killer which affects 150,000 a year
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Monday 08 April 2013
About 150,000 people suffer a stroke every year. A third make a good recovery within a month. Most however, have long term difficulties with speech or movement and the worst affected die.
Anyone of any age can be affected, though strokes are most common in the elderly. Around 20,000 a year happen in people under 65 and strokes can also affect children and babies.
There are two main types - a bleed in the brain called a haemorrhagic stroke, or a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain called an ischaemic stroke.
In both cases the effect is to deprive part of the brain of its blood supply, carrying oxygen and nutrients, which causes the affected brain cells to die.
When stroke strikes, fast action is essential to give the patient the maximum chance of surviving unimpaired. But in an elderly person such as Mrs Thatcher, already suffering from Alzheimer's disease, intervention following a stroke might be deemed cruel.
The chances of restoring her to her pre-stroke state would have been extremely slim. It can be kinder to let nature take its course.
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ukip Jelly Babies cause uproar on Amazon
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...