MORE than a quarter of people do not know what a stroke is, with many wrongly believing it affects the heart, according to research.

A total of 26.4% failed to describe what happens in a stroke, despite it affecting around 12,500 people each year in Scotland.

Some 15% of people believed that a stroke occurs in the heart, while 6% thought it affects the chest, the poll of 1200 people by the Stroke Association showed.

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Around 120,000 people have survived a stroke, which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, and one in six people will suffer from one in their lifetime.

Elspeth Molony, Deputy Director Scotland, Stroke Association, said: "It is crucial that we increase awareness so more people understand what a stroke is and how to recognise the symptoms of stroke."