AN AMBULANCE chief is urging people to ‘adopt a healthy lifestyle’ to reduce their risks of suffering a stroke.
Dr Andy Carson, medical director at West Midlands Ambulance Service, twinned his plea with a call for them to learn a test known by its acronym, FAST, to help those who may have suffered a stroke.
“To reduce the risk of you having a stroke, we would urge people to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
“Eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking will dramatically reduce your risk.
“Lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels with medication also lowers the risk substantially.”
A stoke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
This can be triggered due to a clot in a blood vessel supplying the brain – 80 per cent of cases – or if a vessel bursts and causes a bleed – 20 per cent.
Stroke affects more them 150,000 people in Britain each year and is the country’s third-biggest killer after heart disease and cancer and greatest cause of adult disability.
Whenever stroke strikes, prompt treatment is essential to lessen the damage.
Key to securing this is the ability to spot the danger signs, a skill Dr Carson believes is not shared by enough people.
The main symptoms can be remembered by using the acronym FAST, which stands for face, arms, speech and time.
If the suspected stroke sufferer’s face has dropped on one side, they may not be able to smile and their mouth or eye may have dropped.
They may also not be able to lift one or both arms and hold them in position due to weakness or numbness.
Sufferers’ speech may also be slurred or garbled – or they may be unable to talk.
If any of these symptoms are spotted, it is important to dial 999.
Dr Carson said: “The good news is for many patients modern treatments can make a massive difference. However, it is vital it is diagnosed quickly, which is why we urge everyone to learn FAST.”