Learn about what a stroke is, the signs and symptoms to look for, and what you can do to help prevent one happening to you or a loved one.​

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is designated by the Department of Health as the official Stroke Center for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. We provide access to rapid emergency treatment, evaluation, stabilization and post-stroke rehabilitation programs.​

What is a stroke?​

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, either by a sudden artery blockage preventing essential blood supply, or by a burst blood vessel, which causes bleeding in the brain's tissue. It's a serious and often life-threatening condition, which requires swift emergency medical treatment to limit damage and ultimately save the persons life.

As a stroke happens suddenly, and needs to be treated immediately, it is often reffered to as a "brain attack"

A stroke can cause a number of effects depending on the type and severity of stoke experienced, the part of the brain affected, and how quickly the stroke sufferer has been treated. Stroke survivors can experience physical effects including pain, numbness or unusual sensations, loss of mobility and muscle weakness, and difficulty with their speech. Memory loss and difficulty thinking clearly, as well as emotional issues can also follow a stroke.

Regardless of the types, it's crucial to recognize that any stroke is a serious medical condition that should be treated as a medical emergency. If you suspect that you, or someone else is experiencing a stroke, call 999 immediately.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

The main waring signs of a stroke can be easily remembered and understood by the acronym, B.E.F.A.S.T:

  • Balance: Is the person experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • Eyes: Is the person having difficulty focusing or are they experiencing double vision? Can they see clearly?
  • Face: Is the person able to smile fully? Is their face drooping on one side?
  • Arms: Can the person raise both arms or does one arm drop?
  • Speech: Is the person able to speak? Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: Time is the essence. Call 999 immediately if you see any of these signs.

What causes a stroke?

What causes a stroke?

  1. Ischemic: The most common cause of stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood artery to the brain becomes narrow or blocked, causing a blood clot, which reduces or completely stops blood reaching the brain. The most common types of stroke are a thrombotic stroke, which results from a blood clot in one of the brain's blood vessels, and an embolic stroke, where a blood clost forms in another part of the body and travels to the brain.
  2. Hemorrhagic: A hemorrhagic stroke is the most serious type of stroke and happens when a weakened blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing bleeding (hemorrhage) in the surrounding brain tissue. Uncontrolled high blood pressure and weak spots in the blood vessel walls cause this type of stroke.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ministroke is where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted for several minutes, or for up to 24 hours. A ministroke does not cause permanent damage to the brian, however, it should be treated immediately and considered as a worning sign of a possible full stroke in the future.

Stroke Risk Calculator


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