Act FAST if you experience stroke symptoms

By on 02/02/2015 in News

Act-FAST-poster-featuring-black-manBirmingham Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, is backing a new push to raise awareness of stroke symptoms using a simple four-step assessment: FAST

  • Face  Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms  Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech  Is their speech slurred?
  • Time  Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

Since the Act FAST campaign launched in 2009, an additional 38,600 have got to hospital within the vital 3-hour window meaning that stroke sufferers receive the immediate medical treatment required. This not only results in a greater chance of better recovery, but since the campaign launch over 4,000 fewer people have become disabled as a result of a stroke.

A mini stroke has similar symptoms to a full stroke, except that these symptoms last for a much shorter amount of time. Without immediate treatment, around 1 in 5 of those who experience a mini stroke will go on to have a full stroke within a few days.

Early intervention following a mini stroke can greatly reduce the risk of having another stroke.

However, while 59% of people surveyed cite stroke as one of the top three conditions they are concerned about behind cancer, new research reveals today that less than half (45%) would call 999 if they experienced the symptoms of a mini stroke.

This year’s campaign will also target African and Caribbean and South Asian communities, as findings reveal they are 2 times as likely to be at a risk of stroke.

Dr Phillips said: “This campaign has been a huge success in the past but we still need to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke to ensure that more people in Birmingham make the best possible recovery.

“Treatment for stroke is improving but speed is the key to saving lives. Getting appropriate treatment fast reduces the amount of brain damage.

“Anyone can be a lifesaver if they understand the message of the Act FAST on Stroke campaign. You just need to know how to spot the signs and then act FAST if you see them.”

Professor Julia Verne at Public Health England said: “The impressive results from previous Act FAST campaigns show just how important it is that we continue to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke.

“Highlighting the importance of treating mini strokes with the same urgency as strokes can also make a huge difference: around 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were treated in time. That’s why the Act FAST campaign encourages people experiencing stroke-like symptoms to call 999.”

Nikki Hill, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Stroke Association said: “We know that sadly, far too many people dismiss their early warning signs of stroke and delay calling 999. Stroke is a medical emergency and getting the right treatment fast can save lives.

“Through this latest campaign we hope as many people as possible know how to act FAST and help reduce the devastating impact a stroke can have.”


Notes to editors

The Act FAST campaign will run nationally from 2 February to 1 March 2015. The campaign will consist of TV and Video on Demand advertising supported by digital search. A separate strand of activity including TV, radio and press advertising will specifically target BME audiences.

Additional symptoms of stroke and mini stroke include:

  • sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • sudden memory loss or confusion
  • sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms

A mini stroke is also known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). It is caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.

Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke.

The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at the Stroke Association website.

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