Health News


What is a stroke? A stroke is not a heart attack. A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly disrupted. Blood is carried to the brain by blood vessels called arteries. Blood may stop moving through an artery because the artery is blocked by a clot or plaque, or because the artery breaks or bursts.

What is a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)? A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) happens when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted for a short period of time. It is often called a 'mini-stroke'. The signs are the same as those of a stroke but unlike stroke they last only a short time. The signs of a TIA may disappear in a few minutes and last no longer than 24 hours. They are often a warning of sign that a stroke may occur.

Recognising signs of stroke or TIA: the signs of stroke could be any one or a combination of the following:

  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis - in the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or unexplained fall.
  • Loss of vision, sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes.
  • Headache - usually severe and abrupt onset or a change in the pattern of headaches.
  • Difficulty swallowing.

The FAST test is an easy way to remember and recognise the signs of stroke or TIA.

  • Face - check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms - can they lift both arms?
  • Speech - is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time is critical - if you see any of these signs, call 000 immediately.

Find further information at

Jenny Hill
College Nurse

Source: National Stroke Foundation