Today, Public Health England, working closely with Stroke Association have relaunched the national “Act F.A.S.T.” stroke campaign.
The campaign raises awareness for the signs of stroke and reinforces the importance of acting F.A.S.T. and calling 999 if you notice any single one of the signs in yourself or others.
The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and emphasises the importance of acting quickly by calling 999
- Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech – is their speech slurred?
- Time to call 999
A stroke is known as a ‘brain attack’. There are over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, causing over 40,000 deaths. When someone suffers a stroke, the blood supply to part of the brain cuts off. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as every minute is vital. Patients treated in a hospital with thrombolysis within six hours have better outcomes. That is why calling 999 is so crucial. An ambulance can give stroke patients those extra precious minutes, as not only will treatment be faster, but patients will be taken to the nearest appropriate Hyper Acute Stroke Unit where patients can be given immediate specialist treatment.
The campaign urges individuals to act without hesitation for both themselves and on behalf of others. Whether it is a friend, loved one or even a stranger, dialing 999 quickly and acting F.A.S.T saves lives and gives stroke sufferers their best chance at recovery and potentially reduce long-term effects.