Blackpool Tower will be lit up in recognition of World Stroke Day this Friday 29 October and one of Blackpool Teaching Hospital’s leading stroke consultants has urged the community to recognise the signs of a stroke F.A.S.T.
The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria will be giving strong support to World Stroke Day – an annual opportunity to highlight the serious nature and high rate of strokes and spread awareness of the risk factors and signs.
Across the region, the NHS will get behind the #Precioustime campaign, which aims to make people better aware of the signs of stroke. The campaign is hugely relevant for Lancashire and South Cumbria, where many stroke patients are seeking help too late to benefit from lifesaving or disability-reducing treatments.
The #Precioustime campaign – launched by the World Stroke Organisation – drives home the message that when somebody has suffered a stroke, minutes can save lives.
“Stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment,” said Dr Anis Ahmed, Consultant Stroke Physician at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.
“You can save a life by remembering F.A.S.T. – which is the Face Arm Speech Test. If you see someone whose face has drooped or suddenly developed a weakness of the arm or leg or if they have problem in speaking suddenly then it is time to call the ambulance straight away.
“Stroke is one of the biggest killers, alongside heart disease and cancer, but the good thing is that there is an effective treatment, but the caveat is that you must come to hospital as soon as the symptoms start. Any delays in getting to the hospital could make our treatment ineffective.
“We have quite a high incidence of stroke in Blackpool but we have an excellent stroke team in place at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, who can deliver the very best in care in treatment of stroke patients.
“But it is very important that as a community and a local population we know what the symptoms are, so that we recognise them very quickly and so that the patient can reach the hospital as soon as possible. Spotting the signs early helps us give the right treatment at the right time.”
Worldwide, over 13 million people will have a stroke each year, and about 5.5 million people will die as a result. Patients who survive may lose their ability to speak, move or remember. Through campaigns like #PreciousTime, healthcare professionals want to help more people make good recoveries from stroke, maintain their independence, and preserve their precious memories.
Health and care partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria will be supporting the message to act ‘F.A.S.T.’ to save lives. F.A.S.T. stands for ‘Face drooping – Arm weakness – Speech difficulties – Time to call 999’.
The NHS also backs the Stroke Association’s #HopeAfterStroke campaign, which helps stroke survivors get the support and treatment they need to rebuild their lives.
Jennifer Gardner, Associate Director for the North West at the Stroke Association says:
“This World Stroke Day, we want to highlight the vital part hope plays when recovering from a stroke. The physical impact of a stroke is severe, but for many, the emotional aspects of coming to terms with having a stroke are just as significant. Finding hope is a crucial part of the recovery process. Without it, recovery can seem impossible.
“At the Stroke Association, we support and help people to find this hope, and rebuild their lives. But with 1.3m people and rising in the UK now living with the effects of a stroke, our services have never been more stretched. We urgently require the support of the public to help us continue to support stroke survivors to rebuild their lives.”
The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria are working together to improve stroke services in the region and are planning to put additional investment into enhancing acute stroke and rehabilitation services across the region. You can have your say on these proposals here.