Would you know what to do if a friend or family member had a stroke? The chances are most of us don’t – but that’s something that the Stroke Association want to change with the help of their third annual Stroke Awareness Month.
Strokes are a common health problem in the UK, affecting more than 150,000 people each year, according to the NHS. This means most of us know of someone who has had a stroke, such as Scottish journalist Andrew Marr, who had a stroke following an intensive session on a rowing machine in January 2013.
This year the UK charity is raising awareness of the mini-stroke, also known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). It’s a sobering thought that every year at least 46,000 people in the UK have a mini-stroke for the first time. Often this is a sign that a person is at risk of going on to have a stroke, which is why it’s also referred to as a ‘warning stroke’. Despite this, the Stroke Association say not enough people know about the link between TIA and stroke, so they don’t get the support and services they need.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. When this happens brain cells begin to die, which can lead to brain damage and possibly death. This is why prompt treatment is essential, as the quicker a person receives treatment, the less damage is caused to the brain. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
You can recognise a stroke using the FAST Test:
Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
Time to call 999
How can I get involved?
If someone you know has had a stroke or a TIA you might want to get involved in Stroke Awareness Month. The good news is that hundreds of events are taking place up and down the country, so you can take your pick. Whether you plan to fundraise or learn about stroke prevention, there’s something for everyone.
These are just some of the events you can take part in.
- Take part in fundraising events such as a bike ride, marathon, pub quiz or a coffee morning
- Find an event near you via the charity’s website
For more information on strokes or how you can get involved visit the Stroke Association website, or call 0303 3033 100.
If you have had a stroke or TIA and are thinking of travelling then you might want to talk to us about getting travel insurance. If your doctor has declared you fit enough to travel, then we can offer many types of travel insurance to suit your specific needs. You can also get more information on our stroke page.