HEALTH AND CARE: Taking action to treat strokes F.A.S.T.
This week marks the start of Action on Stroke month across the country, and the local NHS is calling for everyone to make sure they know the signs of stroke and how to act F.A.S.T.
The F.A.S.T. – Face, Arms, Speech, Time – acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and emphasises the importance of acting quickly by calling 999:
• Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
• Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
• Speech – is their speech slurred?
• Time to call 999.
Every year there are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK, and sadly more than 40,000 people die as a result of a stroke.
Last year more than 800 people from Coastal West Sussex had a stroke; that’s about 15 people a week.
But there are around 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK and with F.A.S.T. treatment there can be better outcomes for people.
When someone suffers a stroke, the blood supply to part of the brain cuts off.
It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as every minute is vital.
Patients treated in a hospital with thrombolysis within six hours have better outcomes – that is why calling 999 is so crucial.
An ambulance can give stroke patients those extra precious minutes as not only will treatment be faster, but patients will be taken to the nearest appropriate hyper acute stroke unit where they can be given immediate specialist treatment.
The local NHS is calling on people to act without hesitation for both themselves and on behalf of others.
Talking to people has found that while the majority of people (93 per cent) would call 999 if they saw a stroke, a quarter (24 per cent) incorrectly think that they need to see two or more signs before making the call.
But people are being urged to not wait, and to call 999 at sight or suspicion of any of the signs of a stroke – face, arms and speech.
Whether it is a friend, loved one or even a stranger, dialing 999 quickly and acting F.A.S.T. saves lives and gives stroke sufferers their best chance at recovery and potentially reduce long-term effects.
Act F.A.S.T. Make the call. Dial 999.
Search ‘Act FAST’ for more information.
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