Monday, August 26, 2013

  1. How does a stroke happen?

    For all the different parts of our body to work
    properly, they need a good supply of blood.
    This blood carries the oxygen and nutrients
    that our bodies need to work. It is pumped
    around through tubes called blood vessels.
    When someone has a stroke, it means
    something has stopped the normal blood
    supply to the brain. Most strokes happen
    because a blockage stops the blood flow
    to the brain. Sometimes, though, a stroke
    happens when a blood vessel bursts and
    causes bleeding in the brain. When blood
    doesn’t reach parts of the brain, these parts
    become damaged and cannot work properly.
    The brain controls everything we do, so when
    a stroke happens it can make it harder to do
    normal, everyday things like walking and
    talking. Although a stroke can happen to
    anyone, it usually happens to older people.
    Why do strokes happen?
    Some people are more likely to have a
    stroke than others. This could be because
    they have medical problems like high blood
    pressure or heart problems.
    Keeping healthy, for example not smoking,
    not drinking too much alcohol, eating lots
    of fruit and vegetables and doing some
    exercise, reduces the chances of someone
    having a stroke.
    Sometimes people think that a stroke
    happens because the person had an
    accident or a nasty shock, or because
    they were upset about something like an
    argument. These things don’t cause strokes.
    It’s never anyone’s fault when someone has
    a stroke.
    What effects can a stroke have?
    The brain controls everything that our bodies
    do by sending messages to its different
    parts. For example, it sends messages to our
    A stroke is a health problem that affects the brain. The brain acts like
    an engine running the rest of the body, so a stroke can have lots of
    different effects. Here is some information about what happens
    when someone has a stroke and how they get better.
    All about stroke: information for children

    arms and legs telling them to move when we
    want them to. After a stroke, the brain can
    stop sending these messages to parts of
    the body. This often means that people who
    have had a stroke can’t walk or move in the
    way they did before. They may need to use
    a wheelchair or a stick to help them walk, or
    they may not be able to use one of their arms
    as well as they used to.
    A stroke can make ordinary things like
    talking, reading and writing more difficult.
    Sometimes it makes it harder for the person
    to understand what other people are saying
    to them. They may even say words that
    don’t make sense. It doesn’t mean they are
    being silly or stupid – it just means that the
    part of their brain that controls speaking and
    understanding isn’t working properly.
    Sometimes people who have had a stroke
    forget things you’ve just told them, or the
    things they always used to remember.
    They may not remember where they have
    put things like their glasses. Or they might
    forget someone’s name or what they did
    There are lots of other effects that a stroke
    can have. Some people may have trouble
    seeing things properly. Others may not be
    able to eat or drink properly and may need
    to be given food through a tube into their
    People who have had a stroke usually feel
    very tired and want to sleep a lot. They may
    not want to talk to other people or have
    too many visitors. This is because their
    body needs to rest to help them get better.
    Sometimes it can help if there are only a few
    visitors and they don’t stay too long.
    Some people who have had a stroke become
    very emotional. They may cry because
    they feel sad about things and sometimes
    they cry because they just can’t help it.
    Sometimes they can laugh when you don’t
    expect them to or when you don’t think they
    should. They have these feelings because
    of how the stroke has affected their brain.
    These changes often get better in time.
    It’s normal for people who have had a stroke
    to feel frustrated and upset, especially if they
    can’t speak properly or need to learn to do
    things again, like getting dressed.
    Sometimes it is hard for other people to
    understand all the effects a stroke can have.
    The person who has had a stroke may not
    look different from before. If you break your
    leg, you may get a lot of sympathy because
    other people can see what has happened to
    you. You can’t always see the ways a stroke
    can affect someone and because of this,
    people who haven’t learned about stroke
    may say the wrong thing. That’s because
    no-one has told them about how the brain is
    in charge of everything we do – such as how
    we move, speak and express our feelings.
    All about stroke: information for children

    Where do people go for
    treatment after a stroke?
    Everyone who has a stroke should go to
    hospital for treatment.
    The doctors will run lots of tests to find out
    what caused the stroke. They will probably
    have a test called a brain scan. This takes a
    picture of the brain, and helps the doctors
    see what has happened and how big the
    stroke was.
    Most people will need to take some medicine
    after a stroke, and a few people will need an
    Most people need help from lots of different
    professionals in hospital to get better. This
    is called rehabilitation and it is how people
    relearn how to do things like walking, talking
    and writing.
    Here are some of the people you may meet
    in hospital:
    are in charge of someone’s medical
    care in hospital.
    are the main carers in hospital. They
    make sure everyone is safe and comfortable.
    Nurses can help people to get out of bed and
    to eat and drink at mealtimes.
    help people who have
    problems standing up or walking, or who
    have problems using their hands and arms.
    Occupational therapists
    help people to do
    everyday things like getting dressed.
    Speech therapists
    help people who have
    difficulty speaking, reading, writing or
    Even when the person who has had a stroke
    comes home from hospital they might
    have to keep seeing their doctor or other
    professionals. Many people do get better,
    but they may not be able to do everything
    they did before the stroke.
    How do people get better?
    When someone has a stroke, the family
    always asks the doctors and nurses at the
    hospital what they think is going to happen.
    Even the doctors can’t always tell you how
    long it is going to take for someone to get
    better. But our brains are very clever, as well
    as very complicated, and can sometimes
    relearn the things they used to do. A lot of
    people do get much better, bit by bit.
    Every person who has a stroke gets better in
    a different way and in a different amount of
    time. Some people learn to do some things
    again but don’t get completely better. They
    may have to use a wheelchair or walking
    stick or may have difficulty speaking.
    You might feel sad, frustrated, or angry
    that this happened to someone you love,
    especially if they are not able to do the things
    they did with you before. Many people do get
    All about stroke: information for children
    Stroke Association – December 2012
    better after a stroke, but it can take a long
    time so it is important to be patient.
    If you have any questions or worries about
    someone who has had a stroke, tell someone
    about it. This could be your mum or dad,
    someone else in your family or a teacher.
    They can help to answer your questions.
    Although the person who has had a stroke
    hasn’t become a different person, they
    sometimes behave a little bit differently
    because of it. Remember that they are still
    the same person underneath. They still love
    the people they loved before and enjoy doing
    the things they did before. And whatever
    they can and cannot do, we still love them.