Stroke is a major public-health burden worldwide. Prevention programmes are essential to reduce the incidence of stroke and to prevent the all but inevitable stroke epidemic, which will hit less developed countries particularly hard as their populations age and adopt lifestyles of the more developed countries. Efficient, effective, and rapid diagnosis of stroke and transient ischaemic attack is crucial. The diagnosis of the exact type and cause of stroke, which requires brain imaging as well as traditional clinical skills, is also important when it will influence management. The treatment of acute stroke, the prevention and management of the many complications of stroke, and the prevention of recurrent stroke and other serious vascular events are all improving rapidly. However, stroke management will only be most effective when delivered in the context of an organised, expert, educated, and enthusiastic stroke service that can react quickly to the needs of patients at all stages from onset to recovery.