New campaign reminds South Asians of stroke symptoms

A new campaign is reminding Asians in the UK of the signs and symptoms they should look for to identify someone suffering from a stroke.

The stroke awareness campaign ‘Act FAST’ by Public Health England is aimed at 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.

“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,” Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said. “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.”

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.”

Click here for more information about stroke.

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