Act FAST for Stroke Awareness Month

Published: 06/05/2019

As it's Stroke Awareness Month, we're doing our bit here at Bluebird Care Bromley to raise awareness of a condition that affects someone every 5 minutes in the UK.

Whether you’re already doing something to Make May Purple, or didn’t know it was the Stroke Association’s Stroke Awareness Month, we’re doing our bit at Bluebird Care Bromley to raise awareness of a condition that, according to the latest statistics, affects someone in the UK every 5 minutes.

What is a stroke?

Strokes happen when there’s an interruption in the blood supply to the brain, causing brain cells to die off. The damage this causes can mean that the affected area of the brain is unable to function normally. Over three quarters of strokes occur when there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. Strokes can also happen when a blood vessel haemorrhages inside the brain or on its surface.

Stroke damage can cause a wide range of physical and cognitive problems, depending upon the area of the brain that’s affected. As the brain is divided into two halves that control the opposite side of the body, someone who has a stroke on the left side of their brain may have right-sided weakness and vice versa.

The FAST test

You’ve probably seen the FAST adverts on TV. The FAST campaign has been great for raising awareness of the symptoms of a stroke and how important it is to act fast if it happens. Getting treatment quickly is a hugely important factor in improving a person’s chance of survival and decreasing their risk of being left with serious lasting effects. If you need a quick recap, you can watch a video here or quickly remind yourself of the FAST test:
F = Face: does it look like the person’s face has drooped on one side? Can they smile properly?
A = Arms: can they raise their arms and keep them up?
S = Speech: can they speak normally? Is their speech slurred or hard to understand?
T = Time: A stroke is an emergency, so dial 999 immediately if you see the above symptoms.
Of course, these aren’t the only symptoms of stroke. Severe headaches, speech problems, one-sided weakness and blurred vision can also indicate that something is wrong, but the FAST test is a good way of identifying the most common signs. So, if you don’t already know it, take it on board, and also share it with others. You never know when you might be in a position to save someone else’s life or even your own.

The effects of stroke on daily living

Just as no two people are the same, no two strokes are the same. Factors such as the type and severity of stroke, the area affected, the speed of treatment and the quality of rehabilitation can all have an impact on the person’s wellbeing. The range of cognitive, emotional and physical changes that can happen after a stroke can make day to day living more challenging.
Finding the right support for the individual is a key part of recovery, whether that involves help from loved ones, health professionals, social care workers or, as is often the case, a combination of all three.

To talk to our Bluebird Care Bromley team about how our homecare services could help you or someone you know live well after a stroke, get in touch.

Click here for the Stroke Association’s advice on reducing your risk of stroke.