A stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain is stopped, causing brain cells to die.

Strokes are a medical emergency, as they can lead to permanent damage to parts of the brain, loss of functions such as speech, or cause death.

If you have been told you are at risk of stroke, it’s important to be aware of the main symptoms of stroke.

Transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs or mini-strokes) have the same underlying causes as stroke – an interruption in blood flow to the brain. TIA symptoms are shorter-lived than a stroke, however they can be a warning sign of stroke and need to be treated.

If you are at high risk of a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischaemic stroke), then preventing stroke is important. You may be given an anti-clotting medicine such as warfarin (an anticoagulant) or aspirin (an antiplatelet medicine) to lower your risk of blood clots forming.

There are several risk factors for stroke, many of which can be reduced with either medicines or lifestyle changes. Find out what else you can do to prevent a stroke.

Latest information - stroke


For health professionals (Health professional publication)
25 Mar 2014 Is the risk of haemorrhagic stroke increased in people taking statins? Are statins are suitable for people with a history of haemorrhagic stroke? What is the evidence around statin use and haemorrhagic stroke?
(Media release)
14 Feb 2014 NPS MedicineWise is reminding health professionals that while various media reports have recently linked statins to a variety of adverse events and questioned their efficacy, these drugs remain one of the most effective strategies for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
(Media release)
14 Feb 2014 NPS MedicineWise is reminding health professionals and the general public that the cholesterol-lowing medicines statins remain one of the most effective strategies for reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
14 Jan 2014 Blood pressure is measured by a sphygmomanometer. A specialised cuff wraps around your upper arm and connects to a device for measuring and recording blood pressure. For most adults, normal blood pressure is regarded as 120/80 mm Hg (120 over 80) or less.
14 Jan 2014 Making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to lower your blood pressure. Your doctor may also prescribe blood pressure-lowering medicines.
14 Jan 2014 High blood pressure is when the force that keeps blood moving through your arteries once it has been pumped from the heart is consistently higher than normal. Find out more.
(Consumer publication)
31 Oct 2013 Recent media reports suggest statin medicines increase the risk of diabetes & memory loss in patients. However, research shows that the benefits of statins outweigh the risks & NPS is advising people to keep taking their statin medicines, unless their doctor says otherwise. Read more on the risks & benefits of statins here
30 Oct 2013 Cardiovascular disease includes heart attack, stroke and other blood vessel diseases. It is Australia's biggest killer — killing more than either cancer or road accidents.
(Media release)
13 Sep 2013 During National Stroke Week (9–15 September), NPS MedicineWise is reminding people who take warfarin about ways to help them take it safely.
(Media release)
01 Sep 2013 NPS MedicineWise is reiterating safety messages around the newer anticoagulants dabigatran (Pradaxa) and apixaban (Eliquis) following their PBS listing for preventing stroke on 1 September 2013 – and again for rivaxabaran (Xarelto) which was PBS listed in August for the same purpose.