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A stroke is where the blood supply to an area of the brain is interrupted, causing damage to brain cells. This happens either with a clot in the blood vessel or the blood vessel bursting. The effects of a stroke depend on where in the brain, and how big, the interruption to blood flow is. A “TIA” (or transient ischaemic attack or “mini-stroke”) is a stroke that improves completely within 24 hours (often within minutes).
Most people who have had a stroke or TIA are admitted to hospital. If the stroke has had significant physical effects you may be admitted to our Rehabilitation Unit which aims to increase your independence, prevent complications from stroke and prevent further strokes. For more information on stroke a very useful website is the New Zealand Stroke Foundation site.
Recognising a stroke: remember the memory aid FAST
F - Face: ask the person to smile and see if the face is weak or skew on one side.
A - Arms: ask them to raise both arms and see if they are unable to raise the arm on one side.
S - Speech: ask them to speak and see if they are unable to speak or their words are muddled or slurred.
T - Time: call an ambulance and get them to hospital fast if you think they are having a stroke.