The majority occur in people aged over 65, and though rates are decreasing in this group, growing numbers of younger people are at risk. Growing obesity levels, sedentary lives and unhealthy diets - which raise the risks of dangerous blood clots - all play a part.
Alastair Morely was 34 years old when he had a stoke on New Year's Day four years ago: "I had an excruciating headache, was being sick, couldn't walk or talk very well." It was was later found that Mr Morely had a heart condition which had triggered the stroke and after his rehabilitation the solicitor had a phased return to work. "It was tough but I was lucky that I was young and my brain remapped around the damaged area," Mr Morely added.
Pete Rumbold, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, was 49 when he had a stroke in November 2011: "It left me paralysed down the left side, unable to speak, swallow or see." He warned that there were no outward signs he was at risk: "I was very fit, in the gym six days a week and I eat healthily, but I had high blood pressure and didn't know about it. I hadn't been to the doctor for seven or eight years so my blood pressure wasn't checked for a long time."
Younger people should be aware of the warning signs such as dizziness, difficulties with speech and changes in the face.