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Stroke is a disturbance in the brain, and there are two different types of stroke, one is a bleed, and one is a blockage. In simplistic terms, that's what they are. One is an ischaemic, which is the blockage, and one is a haemorrhagic stroke, which is a bleed in the brain.

An ischaemic stroke is where there is a blockage in the brain. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a blood clot. It could be debris from which is contained in the arteries. And what happens is, is that the blood takes that, knocks a bit off, and it goes around, and that could actually lead to the heart. But with the stroke, it leads to the brain, and it causes a blockage which therefore stops any of the blood and oxygen getting to that area of the brain.

The haemorrhagic stroke is where a vessel in the brain actually bursts, so, therefore, in effect, floods the brain. So by flooding the brain, that needs to be controlled, as it can cause swelling in the brain with the bleed.

So they are completely different insofar as how they're treated, because obviously with a bleed, you couldn't give something like a blood thinner. It would probably be that with the ischaemic stroke, which is the blockage, that they would do a scan. But when you go in with a suspected stroke, they usually do a scan to see whether or not it's a blockage or a bleed because they need to know that, in order to know how to treat it, due to the completely different treatments.

In terms of preventing a stroke, I would always tell somebody to make sure that you have your blood pressure taken. I don't mean every week, but to have that checked. To check, you can go to some of the chemists and they will do diabetes checks. They will look at cholesterol. If the cholesterol is high, it’s another contributory factor. Even if you eat a healthy diet and exercise, that does not mean that strokes do not happen, because children have strokes.  They are not going to have blocked arteries or things like that. So there are a lot of contributory factors that can happen. The irregular heartbeat is one of those, and that does happen quite a lot with children, because we don't know whether they've got an irregular heartbeat. So it's a case of really making sure that you do have your check-ups.

Get your blood pressure checked. I, as a stroke coordinator, do prevention blood pressures, and I do events where I take people's blood pressures. You'd be surprised at how many people are walking around with high blood pressure, as there are no symptoms with high blood pressure. So it's about really taking control of your health and making sure you get your check-ups.