Act FAST campaign to boost stroke awareness

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 March 2018

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A new campaign to help thousands of stroke sufferers in North Somerset has been launched.

Public Health England’s Act FAST initiative urges people to call 999 if they notice any of the major stroke symptoms which are displayed when blood supply to the brain is cut off.

The campaign urges people to be aware of early warning signs and to check whether a person they feel may be suffering a stroke can smile, raise their arms and speak without slurring.

There are 5,247 people in North Somerset who have suffered a stroke in their lifetime with almost 150 dying from the condition in 2016, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The figures also show a larger number of people are suffering strokes in middle age – from 40-69 – with the average age for stroke deaths in North Somerset just 57.

Michelle Dalmacio, Stroke Association director for the South of England, said: “A stroke can happen to anyone at any age, at any time and when it strikes every second counts.

“A stroke is a medical emergency so recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

“The quicker a person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment.

“That’s why we are calling on people in the South West to learn the FAST test and share it with their friends and family.

“Knowing how to spot the signs of a stroke could save a life.”

The FAST acronym encourages people to see if a patient’s face has fallen to one side, whether they can raise their arms and if speech is slurred.

Debbie Stark, deputy centre director for PHE, added: “We know that sadly far too many people dismiss their early warning signs of stroke and delay calling 999.

“Stroke is a medical emergency and getting the right treatment fast can save lives.

“Through this latest campaign we hope as many people as possible know how to act FAST and help reduce the devastating impact a stroke can have.”

There are more than one million stroke patients in England with almost 123,000 of those in the South West.

Click here for more information on the campaign.

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