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Focus on Stroke: FAST campaign aims to raise awareness of vital symptoms

17:03 26 March 2014

Newham stroke club members with visitors from Lambeth

Newham stroke club members with visitors from Lambeth

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Health experts are warning South Asian residents across Newham to be aware of the signs and symptoms they should look for in someone suffering from a stroke.

The NHS poster highlights symptoms  of which residents need to be awareThe NHS poster highlights symptoms of which residents need to be aware

Public Health England has re-launched its stroke awareness campaign ‘Act FAST’, to remind them 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.

Dr Zuhair Zarifa, a local GP and Chair of NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “To give stroke patients the best possible chance of recovery, it’s vital that the signs are spotted early. That’s why knowing the Act FAST message and being able to recognise the symptoms associated with the onset of a stroke is so important.

“Strokes can be treated, so if you see any of the symptoms, call 999 straight away. The faster that a patient receives treatment, the more likely it is that they can sustain a better quality of life.”

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.”

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