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Every Minute Counts - Recognise A Stroke

Nearly all of us know someone who has suffered a stroke be it a relative, work colleague or friend, which is hardly surprising as The Stroke Organisation statistics estimate that there are on average about 152,000 strokes a year in the UK. This works out at 1 person having a stroke every 3-4minutes and about half of all stroke survivors will have to live with a long-term disability. These statistics are quite scary and therefore it is important that everybody is educated and made aware of the signs and symptoms of someone having a stroke, as this could help save someone's life or prevent a long-term disability.

You may be thinking 'what is a stroke?", well there are two types, either an Ischaemic Stroke, which is when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain or a Haemorrhagic Stroke which is when a blood vessel ruptures then causes swelling and pressure around the brain damaging cells and tissues. Whichever type of stroke it is the signs and symptoms are quite similar and an area of the brain will die, however, if treated quickly the long-term disability maybe significantly reduced.

The main tool for recognising a Stroke is the FAST test and Public Health England in partnership with The Stroke Association have just relaunched the National Act FAST Campaign back in February. It is a very easy tool to use as the word FAST is an acronym used as a mnemonic to make it easy to remember.

F - Facial Weakness - can the person smile? Is one side of the mouth or eye drooping?

A - Arm Weakness - Can the person raise both arms and hold them there?

S - Speech Problems - Can the person speak clearly and understand what you are saying?

T - Time to call 999/112 - If they fail any ONE or more of these signs then it is a medical emergency.

Other signs and symptoms which can occur are: loss of balance, lack of concentration, sudden severe headache or sudden onset of confusion.

None of us know if or when we may need to know this knowledge. It could be when we are at work, out with friends, or even at home with the family. The most important thing to remember, is that if you suspect, that you or someone else is having a stroke, then make that 999 call, don't delay time by calling the doctor first. The quicker treatment is received the more positive the recovery will hopefully be. Time is of the essence and every minute counts!!


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