World Stroke Day - 29th October
Posted by Francis Whitehead on October 29, 2023
The 29th of October is World Stroke Day, which aims to highlight the seriousness of the high rates of stroke and raise better public awareness of the risk factors and signs of stroke. The day was set up by the World Stroke Organisation in 2006 and has since been a key factor in making sure anyone having a stroke can get the help they need, as they need to act fast.
What is a stroke?
A stroke essentially occurs when a flow of blood travelling to the brain is disrupted, usually caused by blood vessels becoming blocked, meaning that vital nutrients and oxygen are prevented from reaching the brain. This can affect different parts of the brain and cause different symptoms, such as weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, dizziness, and loss of memory.
There are a number of significant risk factors that can cause a stroke, including smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and a history of heart disease. Also, people who have had a stroke before are at a greater risk of having another. But by following a healthy diet and exercising, you can lessen the risk of a stroke occurring.
Depending on the severity of the stroke, the recovery can differ from person to person. Some people may see quick improvements in the first few weeks after a stroke, but more major strokes can cause permanent damage, including loss of mobility. While this can alter a person’s life, it is possible to re-develop skills and find help in family, friends, or carers.
Rehabilitation and recovery often take the form of physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, depending on the symptoms of the stroke. Here, the individual can gradually build up their strength in the weakened side of their body, recover their speech if it slurred and learn how to manage the day-to-day tasks again. Recovery methods and time can differ depending on the severity of the stroke.
Stroke has already reached epidemic proportions. Globally 1 in 4 adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. 12.2 million people worldwide will have their first stroke this year and 6.5 million will die as a result. Over 110 million people in the world have experienced stroke.
The incidence of stroke increases significantly with age, however over 60% of strokes happen to people under the age of 70 and 16% happen to those under the age of 50.
Pass FAST On
Last year, stroke.org.uk launched a campaign Pass FAST On in 2009 to better spread awareness of the signs of an oncoming stroke. Once people recognise the signs, they can then immediately dial 999 to decrease the risk of complications or in severe cases, death.
So, what is FAST? FAST is:
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 – time to call 999 if you spot any of these signs
The FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms of stroke. But there are other signs that you should always take seriously.
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
It’s good to raise awareness, as a quarter (25%) of teens could not identify any of the three most common signs of stroke and around one in five (22%) parents failed to recall any either.
How can I reduce my risk of stroke?
The theme for this year's World Stroke Day is #GreaterThanStroke, a social media movement to encourage people to make small changes to their lifestyle to reduce their risk of stroke.
Despite the staggering statistics, a stroke doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are ways of reducing your risk of stroke, and it all involves a few lifestyle changes. As high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke, you can alleviate this by:
- Quitting smoking
- Cutting down on alcohol intake – no more than 14 units a week
- Watching what you eat – look at food packaging for saturated fat, salt and sugar
- Keep active – even a 10 minute walk has dozens of health benefits
- Find ways to relax
How can I get involved?
You can get involved by spreading awareness of the FAST symptoms, which can prevent millions of deaths due to stroke worldwide.
You can also use the Social Post Builder on their website to create your own social media post to spread awareness of stroke, using the hashtag #Precioustime. You can also use the hashtag #GreaterThanStroke to show people the changes you've made to your lifestyle.
Ability Superstore wants to recognise all people affected by stroke, whether you’re in recovery from having a stroke or know somebody who has had a stroke.
Our wide range of products can provide assistance and support whilst recovering from a stroke. If physical strength and dexterity are affected by a stroke, our range of hand exercisers can help to build up strength in an easy and comfortable way, whilst our wide variety of mobility aids are perfect for individuals with a loss of mobility. Additionally, we have discreet incontinence products that can help if incontinence is an issue. Our mobility aids can help to make life after a stroke much easier and aid in rehabilitation and recovery.
Get in Touch
Will you be coming up with any creative ways to spread awareness this World Stroke Day? Ability Superstore would love to know! If you have any enquiries, do not hesitate to ask. We will be more than happy to help!