Acting FAST can save lives
Public Health England has re-launched its stroke awareness campaign ‘Act FAST’, to remind South Asians of the signs and symptoms they should look for to identify someone suffering from a stroke, with the aim of making everyone a potential ‘stroke-saver.’
Research shows that the risk of stroke amongst South Asians is higher than the general UK population. This is linked to the high prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in South Asian groups, both of which are major risk factors for stroke.
Acting FAST can save lives and potentially limit long-term effects. The campaign explains that people should look for:
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.
Although there is a general awareness of stroke, it can be difficult to recognise the onset of symptoms. A stroke is a brain injury caused by a blockage or bleed in the brain. Getting appropriate treatment fast reduces the amount of brain damage and improves the chance of making a good recovery.
Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said:“People of South Asian origin are more likely to suffer stroke as people of European origin therefore it’s important that the Act FAST message gets across to these communities.”
“Despite being a treatable condition, stroke continues to be the third leading cause of death in England and the largest cause of disability. It does not need to be this way.”
“The Act Fast campaign continues to save lives and prevent disability by showing us that anyone can be a stroke saver just by making sure they know how to spot the signs – and acting FAST if they see them.
Treatment for stroke is improving, with more and more patients being seen in specialist stroke units. However, in order for people who have had a stroke to get the treatment they need quickly, it’s essential that we are all aware of the signs and symptoms so we can Act FAST.”
Dr. Pankaj Sharma, Consultant Neurologist at Hammersmith Hospital said:“The prevalence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increases the risk of stroke amongst our community, meaning the knowledge of Act FAST is crucial. Although the treatment for stroke is improving all the time, the faster a person is able to get to a hospital when the stroke symptoms first show, the better the outcome. It is possible to treat stroke and every step on the road to recovery matters. Recovery starts when you call 999.”
“Repeatedly we see people’s lives negatively impacted following a stroke because they, their family and friends were unaware of the signs and symptoms relating to the onset of a stroke. The Act Fast campaign is essential to saving lives and can also help people sustain a better quality of life following a stroke.”
The Stroke campaign launches today, which will see adverts running on national mainstream and South Asian TV stations.
As the advert says, “The faster you act the more of the person you save.”
To find out more information visit www.nhs.uk/actfast.