Be aware and act FAST to help save lives

During Stroke Awareness Month (1-31 May), health professionals in Sefton are reminding people that acting F.A.S.T can help save lives.

Stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. It is essential for anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of stroke to seek medical help immediately because the sooner they do, the less damage is likely to be done. 

There are around 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, at least one stroke every five minutes.

In Sefton, there are around 6,500 people living with the effects of a stroke or transient ischaemic attack. This is a much higher proportion of local residents compared to the average national rate.

Dr Nigel Taylor, (pictured below), lead for stroke at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Stroke is a medical emergency and anyone experiencing symptoms should seek urgent help.

“Early treatment not only saves lives but results in a greater chance of a better recovery, as well as a likely reduction in permanent disability from stroke.”

Think and act F.A.S.T., the signs of stroke are:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – time to call 999

Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of complex disability.

Signs of stroke or mini stroke can include sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes, sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body, sudden memory loss or confusion and sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall.

You can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke through an active, healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.

For free support in making these positive lifestyle changes, call Living Well Sefton – the local wellbeing organisation – on 0300 323 0181.

For a range of easy-to-follow, gym-free workouts that can be done anywhere, at any time, visit: http://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/gym-free-workouts/

For information on stroke go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke

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