Would you know how to spot the signs and what to do, if someone you’re with is experiencing a stroke? A stroke is a medical emergency and every minute is vital. If you know what to look for, it could save someone’s life. There are around 100,000 strokes in England, Scotland and Wales every year, and around 33,000 stroke related deaths.
New research shows that more than 1 in 4 people (29%) South Asians wouldn’t be confident in recognising the signs of a stroke. And fewer than 2 in 3 (64%) said that they would dial 999 as a first step if they noticed one of the key signs. It is vital that we become more aware of what to spot and what to do – not only for ourselves, but for the people around us who we love and care for. Those extra precious minutes gained from acting quickly can increase the chances of recovery following a stroke.
You may have heard of the F.A.S.T. campaign, which is a memorable way to spot the signs of a stroke and take immediate action. The campaign has already helped to save many lives, so it is being relaunched by NHS England and the Stroke Association to make sure that even more people know what to do:
- Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech – is their speech slurred?
- Time – even if you’re not sure, call 999.
You should call 999 if you notice even one of these signs.
When Jaswant Naker had a stroke, it was his wife’s quick thinking that saved his life: “She noticed that my speech became slurred whilst watching TV one evening. She insisted that I needed urgent medical help so I was rushed to hospital. I dread to think what would have happened to me if I had followed my instinct and just gone to bed. Years on I am well and I value every day of my life.”
Other medical issues that are common in the South Asian community can also increase the likelihood of having a stroke.
Dr. Sreeman Andole, Executive Medical Director and Stroke Consultant at Liverpool University Hospital said: “We need to be aware that particular conditions that we see in the South Asian community – such as high blood pressure and diabetes – are strongly linked to risk of stroke. Ensuring that we are on the lookout for the symptoms of stroke in ourselves and others is therefore all the more important in saving lives.”
Jaswant’s story is just one example of how recognising the signs of a stroke can be life-saving, but there are countless more that show how important it is to understand what is happening and do something quickly.
Jaswant said: “I urge everyone in the South Asian community to know and understand the signs of a stroke and to not take any chances with their life. If you or someone you know is experiencing facial weakness, arm weakness or speech problems, call 999, do not delay. It could save your life, like it did mine.”
Remember, if you notice any single one of the signs of a stroke, call 999 immediately. By getting someone faster access to emergency treatment you can give them the best chance of survival and recovery, and be a Stroke Saver for our community.
Visit www.nhs.uk/ActFAST for more information.
You can also see a short video by Bhasker Patel on how to spot the signs of stroke