9 February 2015

During February and March pharmacies across Wales are joining the Lower Your Risk of Stroke campaign.

With campaign materials already in many pharmacies across Wales, this week will see the official launch of the partnership between Community Pharmacy Wales, Public Health Wales and the Stroke Association.

On Tuesday 10 February Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, will be joining the three organisations in Cardiff Bay to launch the pharmacy side of the Lower Your Risk of Stroke campaign.

The campaign gets to grips with the number of strokes caused by high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (AF) and Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIA), also known as mini strokes or “funny turns”.

The Stroke Association is asking people to do three simple things. Get their blood pressure checked on an annual basis, check their pulse for any irregularity and lastly seek urgent medical attention should they experience stroke symptoms.

The infographic being displayed in over 700 pharmacies across Wales.

Ana Palazon, Director Cymru of Stroke Association Wales said: “In Wales there are over 11,000 strokes each year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. By raising awareness of the three biggest risk factors for stroke we can make the public aware that up to 50% of these strokes are preventable.

“Pharmacies play an important part in the prevention of stroke as well as life after stroke. They are well placed in the community to offer advice and support to anyone who feels they may be at risk of AF or high blood pressure, or think they may have experienced a TIA. The ‘Lower Your Risk of Stroke’  campaign aims to enable the public in Wales to be well informed and be able to take action. Working in partnership with the Community Pharmacy sector  is a very important part of the campaign as community pharmacies have such a good reach across all of our  communities.”

Mr Chris James, Chair Community Pharmacy Wales said: "The 714 community pharmacies across Wales are ideally placed to be providing public health messages to the 50,000 people who visit them every day. Stroke risk is one of the health conditions that local pharmacies can help patients with, in order to avoid turning that risk into a first or even subsequent stroke. 

"This latest Lower Your Risk of Stroke national community pharmacy public health campaign is the latest in a series of national campaigns that Community Pharmacy Wales organises with the 7 Health Boards, Public Health Wales and the third sector. We are pleased to work with the Stroke Association in Wales again. We are also pleased that this particular campaign is part of a wider Welsh Government-funded national awareness campaign with other health professionals also involved."

Sue Mably, Consultant in Public Health for Public Health Wales said: “Public Health Wales welcomes and supports the involvement of pharmacists in highlighting the specific stroke specific risk factors; hypertension, AF and TIA. Everyone can take simple steps to reduce the risk factors for stroke, such as eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, not smoking and only drinking alcohol in moderation.

“Add to Your Life, the online self-assessment for people aged 50 and over in Wales, offers tailored, helpful information on how to take small steps to improve lifestyles and as a consequence reduce risk of diseases and conditions, including stroke. Public Health Wales recognises the role that pharmacists will play by directing people to the addtoyourlife.co.uk website, who they believe are of greater risk and want to make positive changes.”

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