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Stroke Awareness Month

Blog Post | 1 May 2024

🧠 May is Stroke Awareness Month!

Did you know that 12 million people suffer from a stroke every year, with a staggering half of them succumbing to its effects?

It’s the second leading cause of death globally, right behind heart disease. Let’s use this month to stand in solidarity with those affected by stroke, offering support and raising awareness. Together, we can take proactive steps to prevent this devastating disease.

Stroke Awareness Month Image of head

Signs And Symptoms Of Stroke

The signs and symptoms of stroke can vary depending on the type of stroke and the part of the brain affected. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
  6. Sudden onset of facial drooping, especially on one side of the face.
  7. Difficulty swallowing.

Recognise The Symptoms - FAST

It’s important to remember the acronym FAST to recognise the signs of stroke:

  • F: Face drooping
  • A: Arm weakness
  • S: Speech difficulty
  • T: Time to call emergency services
NHS FAST Stroke image

If you or someone else experiences any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as early treatment can significantly improve outcomes.

Proactive Steps To Reduce The Risk Of Stroke

By incorporating these proactive steps into daily life, individuals can reduce their risk of stroke and promote overall health and well-being:

  1. Control High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for stroke. Monitor blood pressure regularly, follow a healthy diet low in sodium, exercise regularly, limit alcohol intake, and take prescribed medications as directed by a healthcare provider.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. A diet low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help lower the risk of stroke.
  3. Exercise Regularly: Engage in regular physical activity to help maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, and improve overall cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
  4. Quit Smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of stroke. Quitting smoking reduces this risk and improves overall health. Seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, or smoking cessation programs if needed.
  5. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limit consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  6. Manage Diabetes: Keep blood sugar levels under control through diet, exercise, medication (if prescribed), and regular monitoring. Uncontrolled diabetes can contribute to an increased risk of stroke.
  7. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity and being overweight can contribute to various risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  8. Regular Health Check-ups: Regular check-ups with healthcare providers can help monitor and manage risk factors for stroke. Discuss any concerns or changes in health with a healthcare provider to ensure early detection and appropriate management.