The Stroke Association has designated May as their annual stroke awareness month. Otherwise known as ‘Make May Purple’. Their aim is to increase the awareness of strokes as well as trying to raise funds for much needed research and support for survivors.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a brain attack. This happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off. It can be caused by:
-A blockage (an ischaemic stroke) or
-A bleed (a haemorrhagic stroke).Blood carries essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain so it can work properly.
Without blood, your brain cells can be damaged or destroyed and they wont be able to do their job. Because your brain controls everything you do,feel,think and remember, a stroke can affect these abilities.
Signs that you are having a stroke.
-Drooping eyes, mouth, arms, legs.
-Weakness, numbness or paralysis.
-Loss of consciousness
-Sudden severe headache
Not everyone will experience the same or show signs of all the above symptoms.
Act FAST. Call 999.
F- Facial weakness. Can the person smile?
A-Arm weakness. Can the person raise both arms?
S-Speech problems. Can the person speak clearly?
T-Time to call 999 if they have any of these signs.
The quicker a person receives medical attention, the better their chances are. The first 3 hours following the first signs of a stroke are crucial so acting FAST is a priority.
What can you do to prevent?
The majority of strokes are preventable. There are lifestyle decisions that we all make that can influence or increase our risk of having a stroke.
There is lots of guidance and support offered to help even cutting down. Stopping all together significantly reduces the risk.
2.Drink less alcohol.
Recommendations say to have at least 3 alcohol free days a week. Choose drinks with a lower alcohol percentage.
3.Manage your medical conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, a heart condition or high blood pressure, it is important to follow the medical advice given to you. Taking your medications as prescribed, reporting any changes and looking after your health.
4.Reduce stress levels
Fina an activity that relaxes you and spend some time each day doing this.
5.Maintain a healthy weight
Find out what your ideal weight should be given your height and build and aim to get to that!
6.Eat a healthy diet
Eat your 5-10 portions of fruit and veg every day. Cut down on saturated fats and added sugars. Its also very important to drink lots of water.
7.Do more exercise
Try walking briskly for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Or try to use the stairs instead of the lift.
If you are a stoke survivor and are finding it difficult to cope with daily living, we offer support.