Free health checks at The Forum for World Stroke Day
Nurses and other health experts from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will be at The Forum on 29th October from 10am to 2pm, providing free health checks for World Stroke Day.
The theme of the day is 'Stroke, what can I do?'. The answer is a lot. That is why team will be there giving health checks including blood pressure readings, information on quitting smoking and dietary advice.
Advice will also be given on the FAST campaign – Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999. FAST is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of fast emergency treatment.
Stroke occurs when a vessel that brings blood to the brain bursts or is clogged by a blood clot. It is the third largest cause of death in the UK and the biggest cause of disability. Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol overuse. A stroke can leave brain cells damaged or destroyed, affecting body functions. For example, if a stroke damages the part of the brain that controls how limbs move, the person will have difficulty moving their arms.
Symptoms occur suddenly and can include sudden onset of :
– numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body (signs of this may be a drooping arm, leg or lower eyelid, or a dribbling mouth)
– slurred speech or difficulty finding words or understanding speech
– sudden blurred vision or loss of sight
– a severe headache.
Stroke can cause:
– paralysis or loss of muscle control, usually on one side of the face and body
– difficulty with language – speaking, understanding what people say, reading and writing
– blurred or double vision or loss of eyesight
– problems in thinking, memory, concentration and alertness
– depression, anxiety, mood swings and extreme tiredness.
But studies show that if the patient is treated immediately, the risk of long-term damage is reduced, which is why a simple assessment called FAST is so important in spotting the signs.
The FAST acronym was created by the Stroke Association and is used by paramedics to assess three symptoms:
– Facial weakness. Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye dropped?
– Arm weakness. Can they raise both arms?
– Speech problems. Can you understand what they are trying to say? Are they speaking clearly?
– Time to call 999.
In Norfolk, new services commissioned by NHS Norfolk have been launched with the aim of reducing the number of deaths and disabilities caused by stroke.
Patients are already benefiting from a new Thrombolysis service which was launched at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), in December.
Thrombolysis treatment – or clot busting treatment – is given to suitable stroke patients who arrive at hospital within three hours of onset of acute stroke. It can have a major impact on the patient's recovery and reduce the risk of brain damage and resulting disabilities.
About 900 patients with acute stroke admitted to the NNUH each year and, when the service is fully developed, it is estimated that around 10% of these patients will be suitable for the treatment.
To learn more about stroke or what you can do to take a stand against it, visit the following website: http://www.world-stroke.org/world_day.asp.