Would you recognise a stroke?
Every year, around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. That’s one person every five minutes. It is the third most common cause of death in the UK after heart disease and cancer.
Although most people who have a stroke are older, around a quarter of strokes happen in younger people; over 20,000 people under 65 have one every year.
If someone has a stroke, it is really important that it is diagnosed quickly. The sooner the stroke is discovered, the sooner it can be treated and the greater the person’s chances of survival and recovery.
You can learn the classic symptoms of a stroke by remembering ‘F.A.S.T.’ It was developed by leading stroke physicians and is used by all ambulance services like WMAS to help detect the signs.
FACIAL weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
TIME to call 999.
If a person fails any one of these tests, get help immediately by dialling 999.
West Midlands Ambulance Service works with hospitals in the region to ensure patients suffering from a stroke get taken to a specialist stroke centre as quickly as possible so that they can undergo treatment that will minimise the effects of the condition.
Once in hospital, the patient should have a brain scan to determine if the stroke was caused by a blocked artery or a burst blood vessel; which part of the brain has been affected; and how severe the stroke is.
If you would like more information about FAST, log onto the Stroke Association website where you will find a wealth of information: www.stroke.org.uk/