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


Like all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.


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


Types of Stroke


There are two main causes of strokes:

  • ischaemic (accounting for over 80% of all cases): the blood supply is stopped due to a blood clot
  • haemorrhagic: a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts and causes brain damage


There is also a related condition known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the supply of blood to the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing a 'mini-stroke'. TIAs should be treated seriously as they are often a warning sign that a stroke is coming.


Lifestyle Factors

Your risk of having a stroke is increased by certain things in your lifestyle which you can change, and which also increase your chances of having a heart attack.

These include: smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

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Useful Links

Irish Heart Foundation

The Irish Heart Foundation is the national charity fighting stroke and heart disease, funded up to 90 per cent by public and corporate donations


HSE - Stroke
The symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of a stroke.



Please be advised that we do not take any responsibility for the content of the websites or documents referenced on this page, or information that you may receive from them. We advise all patients to discuss their health concerns with their GP.