Public Health England (PHE) and the Stroke Association are urging the public to Act FAST if they spot signs of stroke with the aim of saving lives and improving outcomes for survivors.
A person loses 2 million nerve cells every minute that they do not receive medical treatment during a stroke. Nerve cells are the core components of the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system and the more that are lost, the greater the chance of slurred speech, paralysis and permanent disability.
If left untreated, a stroke could result in permanent disability or death.
The latest Act FAST campaign will again urge the public to call 999 if they notice any of the stroke symptoms in others or experience them themselves. The Act FAST campaign message is:
- 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
Recognising the signs of stroke and acting quickly so that the person can get to hospital within the vital 3 hour window results in a greater chance of recovery as well as reduced likelihood of permanent disability and lesser need for extensive rehabilitation.
Since the Act FAST campaign launched in 2009, an additional 41,382 people have got to hospital within the vital 3 hour window, meaning that those affected by stroke receive the immediate medical treatment required. Figures released by PHE earlier this year also show that since the campaign launch, over 4,000 fewer people became disabled as a result of a stroke in the period.
To illustrate how every minute counts during a stroke and to encourage people to Act FAST, PHE and Stroke Association have today released a thought provoking animated film. The animation depicts the possible outcome of 2 scenarios for a stroke survivor – one where they receive the immediate medical attention required and another where calling for an ambulance is delayed (based on a real life story).
View the video:
PHE YouTube channel.
Research from the Stroke Association illustrates the devastating impact of stroke, which is the largest cause of complex disability (a number of different forms of disability, all caused by stroke) in England. Over half of all survivors have a disability and more than half are left dependent on others for everyday activities. When it comes to rehabilitation, 85% of stroke survivors require physiotherapy, 80% need occupational therapy, and 47% need speech and language therapy. The faster patients receive immediate medical treatment, the better the recovery.
Dr Ann Hoskins, Director of Children, Young People and Families with PHE, said:
Every minute really does count when it comes to stroke and delaying treatment can have serious consequences.
We are urging everyone to stay alert to the signs of stroke and to seek immediate medical attention if they notice any of the symptoms in others. The faster a stroke is treated, the better the chances of a good recovery.
Jon Barrick, Chief Executive at the Stroke Association said:
Acting FAST can help reduce the devastating impact a stroke can have. We know that sadly, far too many
people dismiss the early warning signs of stroke and delay calling 999. It’s easy to ignore these signs as a ‘funny turn’, but stroke is a medical emergency and getting the right treatment fast can save lives and reduce the devastation that stroke can bring.
You are more likely to survive a stroke, and make a better recovery, if your symptoms are spotted and you get treated in a stroke unit as quickly as possible. We need to Act FAST because time lost is brain lost.
Star of stage and screen, Miriam Margolyes, whose mother had a stroke, said:
When mummy had a stroke in the late 60s, there was so little known and much less awareness of stroke than there is today. It was the worst time of my life.
A stroke happens out of the blue and knowing how to recognise the symptoms is so important. If you know what you’re looking for, you can get your loved ones the help they need immediately. We must remember to think and Act FAST, you could save the life of someone you love. Face, Arms, Speech – Time to call an ambulance.
- Stroke Association is a charity that provides advice and practical support to stroke survivors and their loved ones. For more information, visit www.stroke.org.uk or call 0303 303 3100.
- The Act FAST campaign will run nationally from 19 October to 15 November 2015. The campaign will consist of TV and Video on Demand advertising supported by digital search. A separate strand of BME activity including TV and press advertising will specifically target South Asian, Black Caribbean and Black African audiences.
- On World Stroke Day on 29 October 2015, video content, an infographic, case studies, and campaign spokespeople will be available.
- From 26 October to 1 November 2015, Stroke Association will launch a new fundraising initiative ‘Give a Hand’ which will see people across the UK complete an everyday activity using the hand they wouldn’t normally use.
- The Act FAST campaign message is:
* 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 if you see any single one of these signs.
- A stroke is a brain attack, which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.
- Additional symptoms of stroke and mini stroke include:
* sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
* sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
* sudden memory loss or confusion
* sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms.
- The NHS Health Check programme assesses a person’s risk of developing stroke as well as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia. It presents an opportunity for eligible men and women aged 40 to 74 to reduce their chances of developing these serious conditions. If a person has one of these conditions it increases their chances of getting another, so tackling all risk factors such as exercise, diet and smoking can have a huge impact. More information can be found at www.nhs.uk/Conditions/nhs-health-check.
Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_uk and Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland.
- Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk.
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