If you're a healthcare professional looking for more information about the Stroke Association's work in prevention, you can find out about our activity and prevention resources below.
How to reduce the risk of stroke
Our work on increasing the awareness of stroke risk factors includes:
- Prevention activity
- Recognising signs of stroke - the FAST test
- Atrial Fibrillation resources for professionals
Are you a healthcare professional? You can sign up to our Professionals network for further updates on our work around stroke prevention.
Stroke prevention activity
Our stroke prevention activity helps people to understand the risk factors for stroke and what they can do to reduce or manage their risk of having a stroke.
Prevention activity: how can we do better?
You can find out more about the state of hypertension care in England, and in each individual CCG, through 'BP: How can we do better?' resources.
These are available through the British Heart Foundation website and have been developed in partnership with the Stroke Association, British and Irish Hypertension Society, Blood Pressure UK, Public Health England and the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Recognising signs of stroke - the FAST test
Stroke is a medical emergency. The FAST test can help recognise the signs. With your support, we can raise awareness of the FAST test and ensure more people know how to recognise the signs of stroke.
We have a range of free resources available.
FAST - a stroke specialist's perspective
The “Face-Arm-Speech-Time” test has been instrumental in raising public awareness to dial 999 and call for urgent help if someone is suspected of having a stroke. Its simple and powerful message and images have been really successful in increasing the number of patients admitted to hospital quickly – about 60% of stroke patients now arrive at hospital within four hours. But there’s work to do. Only by repeating and re-enforcing the message can we do better still.
Why is it so important?
85% of strokes are caused by a blocked blood vessel and for every minute the vessel remains blocked 1.9 million neurones die. In other words, the longer the vessel remains blocked, the greater the likelihood of more severe brain injury and subsequent neurological disability.
Clot-busting treatments such as intravenous thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy are very effective treatments at opening up cerebral blood vessels, restoring blood flow and limiting neuronal damage.
15% of strokes are caused by bleeding into the brain and are usually due to a ruptured blood vessel. Lowering the blood pressure quickly limits further bleeding and rapid neurosurgery can be lifesaving in some patients.
The earlier these treatments can be delivered the better – ideally within 90 minutes of symptoms starting and within an hour of a patient arriving in hospital. Indeed 20% more patients will be completely independent at 3 months if treated within 90 minutes, compared with 10% at 180 minutes and 7% at 270 minutes.
- Dr Richard Marigold, Consultant Stroke Physician, University Hospital Southampton
FAST - The real impact
Mr G, 72, had been out for dinner when he suddenly felt light-headed, then his face, arm and leg went heavy and weak and he had developed slurred speech. His wife recognised symptoms from the FAST campaign, called 999, and he was taken into hospital. He had a CT scan within 30 minutes and was given clot-busting treatment 1 hour and 8 minutes after his symptoms started. The following morning his speech was normal, he could stand and had good use of his right arm and hand. 48 hours later he had completely recovered and at a clinic appointment three months later he explained that he was regularly walking five miles a day.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and stroke
There are 1.2 million people with known AF in the UK, as well as an estimated further half a million people with undiagnosed AF.
The risk of stroke increases five-fold for people with the condition and it contributes to one in five strokes in the UK. It is therefore essential that AF is better detected, diagnosed and treated.
AF-related strokes are often more severe with higher mortality and greater disability. Treatment with an anticoagulant significantly reduces the risk of stroke in people with AF.
Our aim is to reduce the number of preventable/avoidable AF related strokes. Take a look at the range of our AF resources and help us achieve our goal.