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Have you made changes during Stroke Awareness Month?

With Stroke Awareness Month (1 – 31 May) coming to an end this week, it's still very important to remember that a stroke can happen to anyone, at any age. Understanding what your risks are and what to do in the event of witnessing a stroke, can save a life.

Stroke is the fourth largest killer in the UK, and there are two mains types

1.  A blocked blood vessel in the brain (on the left)

2. Bleeding in or around the brain (on the right)

Source: Stroke Association

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors of strokes (i.e. what can contribute to a blocked vessel or a bleed in the brain) are listed below. It's important to know what you can and cannot do to alter your risks:

A recent report on Lewisham population's health highlighted that across the borough, there are:

  • High rates of smoking
  • High levels of obesity

At NHS Lewisham CCG, we're encouraging residents to improve their awareness of stroke and to seek advice where needed.


What can you do?

Reduce your risk of stroke by:

·       quitting smoking  
·       exercising
·       eating a balanced diet
·       reducing your alcohol
·       seeking medical attention if you experience any of the stroke symptoms (see F.A.S.T below).

Jane Dolega-Ossowski, Practice Nurse Advisor for Lewisham CCG says "The best way to help prevent a stroke and enjoy a long healthy life is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol. For more information on health and wellbeing check out the Lewisham Council website or if you are between the ages of 40 to 74 without any known health problems, ask your pharmacist or practice nurse about the free 5 yearly NHS Health Check which is a simple way to screen for stroke risk factors early. If you already receive treatment for high blood pressure, heart trouble or diabetes then make sure you book to see your GP or Practice Nurse at least every year for a check-up."



Spotting the signs of stroke

F.A.S.T helps us remember the signs of stroke. Act FAST, and call 999 if you notice any of the following:

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 one of these signs.

Remember, stroke is not a standalone disease. Each positive step taken today can reduce your risk of developing stroke in the future. Explore Lewisham’s community directory for local information, activity and support to improve your health and wellbeing.



Useful links:

1.      12 ways to prevent a stroke

2.       A list of support available to you (for patients, families and carers)

3.       Stroke information and advice