Strokes affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Britain every year. According to The Stroke Association, strokes are the third largest killer in Britain – they are the direct cause of 53,000 deaths annually and one of the leading causes of severe disability. However, despite these statistics, it is possible to have a stroke and to make a full recovery. The keys to survival are early identification, and the administration of timely medical treatment.
To underline the importance of early recognition that someone is undergoing a stroke, The Stroke Association has designated May as ‘Action on Stroke’ month. The organisations will use the month to promote their awareness campaign, which aims to help the public recognise if someone is experiencing a stroke so that they are able to summon medical assistance quickly.
The campaign is called FAST; an acronym for Face, Arms, Speech, Time. These words represent the basic early diagnosis procedure, and are outlined in further detail below:
Face: Has someone’s face fallen to one side? Are they able to smile?
Arms: Do they have full control over their arms? Can they raise them both and hold them there?
Speech: Is speech slurred?
Time: If the person is showing the above symptoms it is time to call the emergency services. Early medical intervention can save lives and prevent disability.
If you see these signs and think that someone may be experiencing a stroke, do not delay. Call 999 for an ambulance or paramedic.