World Stroke Prevention Day takes place on Tuesday, 29 October. It’s a day to raise awareness of what a stroke is and importantly, the steps you can take to prevent a stroke.
A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are medical emergencies and the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
Recognising the signs of a stroke
The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, but usually begin suddenly. As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage.
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:
- Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
- Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
- Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
It’s important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for a person who is in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or a high blood pressure.
The best way to help prevent a stroke is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and stopping smoking and drinking too much alcohol. These lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of problems like arteries becoming clogged with fatty substances, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Knowing your blood pressure, and getting treatment if it is high is also important.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said “Many people will have been impacted by a stroke – whether they have suffered a stroke themselves or know someone who has. There are a few simple steps we can all take to help reduce our chances of having a stroke, which will improve our health and wellbeing generally too.”
Find out more
Further information is available by visiting www.nhs.uk.