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The Network of Public Health Observatories is now part of Public Health England.

This page contains historical information.

Image Lead Area CHD
Lead person: Lead PHO: SEPHO

Stroke is the third biggest cause of death in the UK and the largest single cause of severe disability. Each year more than 110,000 people in England will suffer from a stroke which costs over £2.8 billion in direct costs to the NHS, £2.4 billion of informal care costs (e.g. the costs of home nursing borne by patients’ families) and £1.8 billion in income lost to productivity and disability.

Stroke is a ‘brain attack’ caused by a disturbance to the blood supply to the brain. The most common form of stroke, Ischaemic, is caused by a clot narrowing or blocking blood vessels so that blood cannot reach the brain, which leads to the death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen. Haemorrhagic stroke is caused by a bursting of blood vessels producing bleeding into the brain, which causes damage. Transient Ischaemic attacks (TIA), occur when stroke symptoms resolve themselves within 24 hours

Stroke has a devastating and lasting impact on the lives of people and their families. Individuals often live with the effect for the rest of their lives. A third of people who have a stroke are left with long-term disability. The effects can include aphasia, physical disability, loss of cognitive and communication skills (e.g. leading to aphasia), depression and other mental health problems.

Following on from this, the Government has launched a national stroke strategy to modernise service provision and deliver the newest treatments for stroke. The Government's target which aims to reduce the death rate from Stroke, CHD and related diseases in people under 75 by at least 40 percent by 2010 has already been achieved. Risk factors for stroke can be hereditary, a function of natural processes (such as ageing) or a result of lifestyle choices. Risk factors resulting from lifestyle choices, (smoking, diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, obesity and diabetes) are known as the modifiable risk factors.

For more information about this topic, please look at the topic on the SEPHO web site.


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