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May 29, 2012

May was Action on Stroke month in the UK, and the Wellcome Trust decided to run a series of features, infographics and videos about various aspects of stroke. I was commissioned to write two features – ended up contributing five pieces to the series: this was the first…

Wellcome Trust Blog

Stroke stampThere will be about 150 000 strokes in the UK in 2012, among a population of 62 million. Crude arithmetic suggests your chance of having a stroke this year is, therefore, 0.24 per cent. But a variety of factors can make us more – or less – likely to experience stroke. Is it possible to put a number on an individual’s risk? And if you found out you were at high risk, what could you do about it? Michael Regnier investigates.

A blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Without their blood supply, brain cells are left gasping for oxygen. They die, breaking neural circuits and shutting down brain functions. Every stroke is different but whatever the precise effects are, they begin immediately.

Strokes are sudden but many of the disease processes that precede them take a long time to develop. This is why age is the most…

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