People in Basildon and Brentwood are being reminded to call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the symptoms of a stroke in themselves or others.
A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential.
But research for Public Health England shows that one in four people would wait to call an ambulance because they wrongly believe that they need to see two or more symptoms of stroke before making the call. Other barriers to dialling 999 include feeling that they need permission to act on behalf of others.
The ACT F.A.S.T. campaign urges people not to delay making that life or death call.
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.:
• Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
• Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
• Speech – is their speech slurred?
• Time – to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs
Additional symptoms of stroke and mini stroke can 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
The latest available information (31 March 2016) shows that in Basildon and Brentwood there were 4,919 people on GP registers having had a stroke or TIA. The figures represent 1.8 per cent of people on local GP registers which is slightly above the national rate of 1.7 per cent. Read a local patient's stroke survival story here
Dr Subrata Basu, the clinical involvement lead for stroke at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and the faster someone gets emergency treatment, the more chance that person has of surviving and avoiding serious disability.
“We are reminding people not to delay an emergency call – even if only one symptom is being shown - a fallen or sloped Face, unable to lift Arms above their head, slurred Speech then it’s Time to call 999. Act F.A.S.T. is a simple phrase to remember and act upon.”
While many people think that strokes only happen to older people, they but can strike anyone at any time. You can find out the factors that can increase your risk here
Find information on the Stroke Association here
Download the Act Fast campaign leaflets here