Tuesday 29th October is World Stroke Day which gives us all a good opportunity to talk about stroke awareness and as part of our winter campaign each week we are sharing advice and tips from our staff. This week Professor John Howarth has shared advice on stroke:

Every five minutes someone in the UK will have a stroke which is over 100,000 people a year. While there are more than 1.2 million stroke survivors, it is still the fourth biggest killer in the UK. These statistics show very clearly why we all need to try and make lifestyle changes in order to reduce the risk of stroke.

There are five things that everyone is recommended to do that will reduce your risk of stroke:

1. Cut down on alcohol: It’s best for anyone to drink no more than 14 units a week and to spread the units over the week.

2. Stop smoking: Smoking doubles your risk of dying from a stroke. But the minute you quit, your risk starts to drop right away.

3. Stay a healthy weight: Being overweight makes your stroke risk more than 20%. Obesity takes that to 64%.

4. Eat healthy: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to lower your risk of things like high blood pressure and diabetes.

5. Be as active as you can: Being physically active can help to reduce your risk of a stroke, it’s also good for your emotional wellbeing.

In north Cumbria, we are currently working to improve stroke services with the opening of a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at the Cumberland Infirmary where specialists are on hand 24/7. Acting FAST and contacting emergency services to get people to hospital as soon as possible can save someone’s life and reduce the risk of having life changing affects following a stroke. 

·         Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?

·         Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

·         Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?

·         Time: If you see any of these three signs, it's time to call 999.

If you spot any of these signs of a stroke, don't wait. Call 999 straight away.