14 th March 2011
The Department of Health's Act FAST television campaign to raise awareness of the signs of stroke is being re-run this month (March 2011).
NHS Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have joined together to back the campaign and urge people to learn how to recognise the signs.
Amanda Jones stroke nurse consultant and clinical lead for stroke services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “I saw a patient at my clinic recently who’d suffered a stroke on their way to work. They’d collapsed and because a passer by recognised the signs of stroke from the TV advert and dialled 999 straight away, they were brought directly to the hospital for treatment. This just goes to show that recognising the signs of stroke can be vital for all of us.
“If a person who suspects a stroke gets into hospital as soon as possible, and within 3 hours, they may be eligible for thrombolysis. This is a clot busting drug, which can have dramatic results and can significantly reduce disability. However it can only be give in hospital by specialists, and only after a comprehensive specialist assessment.
“If the person isn’t eligible for thrombolysis getting to hospital urgently is still vital, to receive appropriate medical treatments and specialist rehabilitation.”
Local GP and joint-chair of NHS Sheffield’s Clinical Executive, Dr Richard Oliver said: “Stroke is still one of the country's leading killers. In Sheffield more than 1,600 people are affected by stroke every year. Many people still don’t recognise the symptoms and are unable to help. We want to raise awareness of the signs to try and change that.
“When it comes to stroke it’s important to be able to recognise the signs and act FAST to get help. This helps to reduce the damage caused and could save a life.
“Although strokes are more common as people get older they can occur at any age, so think FAST as speed is of the essence if damage is to be minimised.”
Remember FAST - ask yourself these questions:
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 - time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.
Stroke causes irreversible damage to the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel ruptures or bleeds.
The faster you recognise stroke and react to it, the more of the brain you can save. People who get to hospital within three hours of an attack can receive treatment that can reduce their chance of suffering further brain damage or dying.
The Department of Health is working together with the Stroke Association on the campaign which will run from 1 March for three weeks.
For more information visit: www.nhs.uk/actfast where you can find a video of the adverts and also an interactive test.