How you can spot the signs before it's too late
A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year, so why are we still failing to recognise the signs? A new campaign called Act Fast are highlighting the symptoms of strokes and mini strokes specifically to South Asians as their risk is around double the general population in the UK. Whilst awareness is growing, there is still not enough acknowledgement of mini strokes within the media. Studies have found that without immediate treatment, around one in five of those who experience them will go on to have a full stroke within a few days.
Mini Stroke symptoms are said to last for shorter periods of time compared to strokes although the signs are similar:
- Has their face swollen on one side?
- Can they smile?
- Can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
- Is their speech slurred?
If you spot one or more of these signs, you must call 999 immediately. Sanjeev Bhasker, comedian, actor, and campaign supporter of Act Fast said: 'As a community we have a higher risk of stroke than the general population so knowing the signs to look out for is crucial for us.' The reason for the increase in strokes in South Asian ethnicity is explained by Professor Kevin Fenton: 'In high risk ethnic groups like South Asians there is a higher prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes which are significant risk factors that cause strokes.' In addition to this there are simple lifestyle changes that can help to prevent them occurring. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise are just two simple ways in which can lessen your chances of experiencing a stroke.
Additional signs linked to mini strokes and strokes include:
- Sudden lose of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Sudden memory loss or confusion
- Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall (especially with other symptoms)
It is important to remember that early intervention following a mini stroke can greatly reduce the risk of having another stroke.
For more information on the Act FAST campaign visit: www.nhs.uk/actfast