New push to raise stroke awareness

By on 10/03/2014 in News

Act-FAST-poster-featuring-black-manStroke kills - But anyone can be a lifesaver if they understand the symptoms of stroke and the urgent need to act quickly.

Health bosses in Birmingham are 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

And the key message is that the sooner people receive treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability.

First launched in 2009, the award-winning Act FAST on Stroke campaign helps people recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of emergency treatment.

Almost 12,000 people across the West Midlands will have a stroke this year and Paul Fisher of Birmingham Public Health believes the Act FAST on Stroke campaign could improve the outcomes for many.

He 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.”

The national Act FAST on Stroke campaign will run from 9-31 March. Activity will consist of TV and Video on Demand advertising, supported by BME outreach activity.


  • Stroke is a major health problem in the UK. It is a preventable and treatable disease that is the third biggest cause of death in the UK and the largest single cause of severe disability. Each year in England, approximately 110,000 people have a first or recurrent stroke.
  • South Asians have a higher risk of brain stroke than the rest of the population.
  • In the West Midlands, approximately 11,600 people will have a first or recurrent stroke each year.
  • More than 900,000 people in England are living with the effects of stroke, with approximately 125,452 residing within the West Midlands.

There are many factors that can increase your risk of stroke, including:

  • your genes
  • your age
  • your diet
  • the amount of alcohol you drink
  • whether you smoke
  • how fit you are, and
  • whether you have any other medical conditions.

But there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of stroke, including:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly

If you are aged 40-74, book an NHS Health Check with your GP for advice on the lifestyle changes that could help reduce your risk of a stroke.

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