Each year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke – that’s one person every three minutes.
It is a myth that stroke only affects older people. Around a quarter of strokes happen to people under 65 with approximately 400 children a year suffering from stroke.
The FAST campaign was designed by The Stroke Association to help people identify the symptoms of stroke.
If a stroke is suspected, use the following easy to remember acronym:
F is for facial weakness. Can the person smile? Is the smile lopsided? Has their mouth or eye dropped?
STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY
A stroke is a ‘brain attack’. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. Other strokes are caused by bleeding in or around the brain from a burst blood vessel. When the blood supply is disrupted, parts of the brain become damaged or destroyed. Some strokes are fatal whilst others can cause permanent or temporary paralysis to one side of the body and loss of the ability to speak, read or write. Recovery may be slow and can vary from person to person.
Some people are more at risk from stroke than others such as those from African Caribbean and Asian backgrounds, however simple lifestyle changes may prevent a stroke from happening.
High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor of stroke. Each year, The Stroke Association works in conjunction with The Rotary Club of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to hold free blood pressure testing days across the country with their ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ campaign.
A healthy diet, regular exercise, stopping smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation along with reducing salt intake (not adding salt to food or avoiding salt rich processed foods) can reduce blood pressure and help prevent a stroke from happening.
The Stroke Association is the only UK wide charity solely concerned with combating stroke in people of all ages.
Over the past ten years The Stroke Association has invested over £21million into scientific research into the prevention, treatment and better methods of rehabilitation for those affected by stroke. The organisation also actively campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of stroke.
The Stroke Helpline provides information on stroke to the general public and is open between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on 0845 3033 100.
More information on stroke and The Stroke Association can be found at www.stroke.org.uk.