What is a Stroke

A stroke happens (video) when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted.

Blood is carried to the brain by blood vessels called arteries. Blood contains oxygen and important nutrients for your brain cells. Blood may be interrupted or stop moving through an artery, because the artery is blocked (ischaemic stroke) or bursts (haemorrhagic stroke). When brain cells do not get enough oxygen or nutrients, they die. The area of brain damage is called a cerebral infarct.

Brain cells usually die shortly after the stroke starts. However, some can last a few hours, if the blood supply is not cut off completely. If the blood supply can be returned in the minutes and hours after the stroke, some of these cells may recover. If not, they will also die.

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) happens when there is a temporary interruption to the blood supply to the brain. It causes the same symptoms as a stroke, but these go away completely within 24 hours.

Even though symptoms may go away it is also important to get treatment as quickly as possible by calling 000.

If you think someone is having a stroke call 000