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A stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

Face - the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms- the person with a suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech - their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

Time - it is time to dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Older people are most at risk of having strokes, although they can happen at any age - including in children.

If you are south Asian, African or Caribbean, your risk of stroke is higher. This is partly because of a predisposition (a natural tendency) to developing high blood pressure (hypertension) which can lead to strokes.

Smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise and poor diet are also risk factors for stroke, as are high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation and diabetes.

Please visit the NHS website for further information about Strokes.

For local help and support there is the Community stroke service, Hereford Stroke Club and Ross-on-Wye Stroke Club.