Changes to your lifestyle can reduce the risk of having a stroke. That is the message from local NHS commissioners as a national campaign designed to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of a stroke is re-launched.
Locally, around 850 people suffered a stroke over the last year, with many suffering a permanent disability as a result. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and stopping all smoking, help to reduce your chances of having a stroke.
Southport GP, Dr Stuart Bennett, said: “People can take positive action such as reducing sugar and salt intake, increasing the amount of exercise in their daily routines and minimising stress to reduce the risk of stroke.”
People with certain health conditions are more at risk. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat) or diabetes. Individuals with these conditions, and other people identified as at risk, receive monitoring and medication, as appropriate, from their GP surgery. Anyone identified as at risk by their GP or consultant should ensure they are up to date with their appointments to ensure they receive regular monitoring and medication review and follow clinical advice as best as possible.
This message coincides with the relaunch of the Act F.A.S.T. campaign which aims to increase awareness of stroke and the importance of getting help quickly to improve the chance of a good recovery. The campaign is easy to follow as described below:
When there is a sudden onset ACT FAST:
Face – Has it fallen on one side?
Arms – Can they raise them?
Speech – Is it slurred?
Time – If you notice any of these signs, call 999, even if the symptoms only last a short time.
“A stroke occurs when the blood supply is cut off to a part of your brain. This stops the affected part of the brain from getting the oxygen and glucose it needs and causes damage to the brain cells and this is why it’s so important to get help quickly”, said Dr Bennett.
There is help in Southport and Formby for people wanting to improve their lifestyle and reduce their risk of stroke, and for anyone recovering from stroke:
- All eligible adults aged 40 to 74 years old are invited for an NHS Health Check which can help with early detection of health risks. In addition, the NHS Choices website has detailed information on how you can live well: www.nhs.uk/livewell/Pages/Livewellhub.aspx
- The Stroke Association’s Southport Stroke Recovery Service offers a range of support for people who have suffered a stroke including help for patients to regain their independence and on-going care. The service also provides assistance for carers who are required to look after people following a stroke. Anyone who would like to know more about the services available for people who have survived a stroke, or those who care for them, can visit the South Sefton Stroke Recovery Service website for more information: www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support/southport-stroke-recovery-service