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HealthInfo Canterbury

About stroke

A stroke happens when someone has a bleed or a blood clot in their brain, which damages their brain tissue and usually produces physical signs of disability.

A blood clot in the brain can be caused by atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) or atrial fibrillation. Bleeding can sometimes be caused by high blood pressure.

Some people develop symptoms similar to a stroke, but fully recover within a few hours. This may be a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), also called a mini stroke.


A stroke is a medical emergency. If you think you or someone else is suffering from stroke symptoms, call 111 for an ambulance immediately.

Symptoms of stroke

Learn the FAST check to recognise the symptoms of a stroke:

The following videos tell you how to recognise the signs of a stroke.

Cardiovascular risk assessments

To find out if you're at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, see Cardiovascular risk assessment. This page also gives advice about reducing your risk.

On the next page: Preventing stroke

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed April 2018. Last updated August 2018.

See also:

Advance care planning

Page reference: 503098

Review key: HISTK-21790