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Lambeth GPs back campaign to raise awareness of stroke symptoms

GPs in Lambeth are supporting a campaign to tackle the country's third-biggest killer – with a message that acting FAST could save the life of a loved one. 

The Make May Purple campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms and risk factors associated with stroke, and support research into the condition.

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition – caused by a clot or bleeding – that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

In the UK, a stroke happens every five minutes and can often be fatal. The condition destroys lives and is the third biggest killer in the country.

However, prompt treatment makes a significant difference to someone's recovery and rehabilitation, and having an NHS Health Check can identify those at risk.

Despite better prevention, and earlier and more advanced treatment leading to a decline in the number of stroke-related deaths in the past 15 years, there are still around 32,000 a year in England, meaning urgent treatment remains crucial to outcomes.

People can play a key part in making sure their loved ones receive care as quickly as possible. Part of this is being aware of the signs and symptoms of someone having a stroke and knowing what to do.

F.A.S.T. is a quick and effective way of remembering what to do if you suspect that someone is having a stroke.

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 first three hours following the first signs of a stroke are crucial so acting FAST and getting help is a priority.

Other more specific symptoms include:

  • Dropping eyes, mouth, arms, legs
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden severe headaches

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

"Stroke is often associated with older people, but the latest research shows that people are having strokes at a younger age. Everyone needs to be aware of the signs. Calling 999 as soon as you see even one of the symptoms develop – in the face, arms and speech – is essential. Speedy treatment will make a significant difference to someone's recovery and rehabilitation."