Purple May for Stroke Awareness
May is a month dedicated to stroke awareness. We join the cause with this article, explaining why it's important to be informed. Find out what the symptoms are, how to recognise them and behave in emergency situations.
What is it?
A stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing your brain cells to become damaged or die.
During a stroke, brain cells in an affected part of your brain are damaged because they don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need from your blood. This can affect your speech, as well as the way you think and move.
This medical condition strikes every five minutes in the UK. New statistics show that 1 in 6 people in the UK will have one in their lifetime, and worldwide someone has one every 2 seconds. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time, although elderly people are at higher risk than other age groups. Recognising the warning signs in yourself or someone else can save a life. The sooner a person receives treatment, the less the damage. It affects people differently and recovery from it is also different for everyone. However, there are many support systems in place and research is making recovery faster and more effective.
Symptoms: act FAST, be ready
FAST is the way you should react in case of a stroke to make sure the damage to the brain is minimum, but it is also an acronym to use to recognise the symptoms.
It stands for:
Face- Is their face drooping, can they hold a smile? The face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
Arms- Can they raise both arms and hold them up? The person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
Speech- Slurred speech, do they have difficulties understanding what you are saying to them?
Time- if you recognise any of these symptoms call 999 and get medical help ASAP.
The FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms.
But there are other signs that you should always take seriously. Read more about it here: NHS
What should you do in case of emergency?
If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Caring for someone who’s had a stroke
You may be looking after someone because they’ve recently had a stroke. The amount of support they’ll need will depend on the impact of the stroke and their recovery.
Find all the information you need here: British Heart Foundation
If you’re looking after someone, remember that it’s just as important to look after your own health and wellbeing.
There are ways to reduce the risk of having a stroke by leading a healthy lifestyle and acknowledge dangerous habits in your life, like:
-Eating a healthy diet
-Taking regular exercise
-Following the recommended guidelines on alcohol intake
-Lowering high blood pressure or cholesterol levels
If you want to know more please visit the Stroke Association website.