20th Sep, 2018

Public Health England launches national campaign to highlight early signs of a stroke

A NATIONWIDE campaign has been launched to raise awareness about the early signs of a stroke.

Led by Public Health England (PHE), Act F.A.S.T aims to remind people of all ages to be aware of the key symptoms and call 999 at the first signs.

Latest figures show 106,700 people in the West Midlands have suffered from a stroke.

While the majority of strokes happen to those aged 70 or older, a larger proportion of strokes are occurring in middle age adults – between 40 and 69.

With quick treatment, the risk of disability or death following a stroke can be significantly reduced.

And now PHE is urging people to understand the four key symptoms of a stroke:

Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?

Speech – is their speech slurred?

Time – time to call 999.

Not treating a stroke quickly can lead to slurred speech and paralysis.

Approximately 75 per cent of stroke survivors have arm or leg weaknesses while 60 per cent suffer from visual problems and half struggle to swallow.

Dr Helen Carter, deputy director of PHE West Midlands, said: “Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the country.

“The faster someone experiencing a stroke gets emergency treatment, the more chance that person has of surviving and avoiding serious disability.

“It is crucial to Act FAST when you see any single one of the symptoms of stroke, and do not delay making that all-important 999 call.”

The campaign has received backing from former actress and model Alison Freeman.

Now 53, Alison suffered from her first stroke eight years ago and encouraged others to understand the symptoms after her occupational therapist acted quick and called 999 during her second stroke.

Alsion said: “I was hesitant to call 999 and called my GP instead.

“When seeing me, my GP called 999 straight away as he knew it was a stroke.

“Despite treatment, I was left wheelchair bound and struggling to talk.

“I now give motivational talks as I am determined to help other stroke survivors.”

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