One in four (25 per cent ) stroke deaths in County Mayo could be averted thanks to a major national programme to improve acute services – but only if more people know the FAST warning signs of stroke and the need for emergency treatment in the wake of an attack. The findings were released by the Irish Heart Foundation at the launch of the first ever National Stroke Week, supported by Covidien, a leading global healthcare products company.
The Irish Heart Foundation in partnership with Covidien launched its first website dedicated to stroke called www.stroke.ie in 2010. The website was set up to support the FAST campaign and the 10,000 people who suffer from stroke in Ireland every year. Stroke.ie – which is supported by an education grant from Covidien – is driving the Irish Heart Foundation’s campaign for better stroke services in Ireland as well as helping to bridge the chronic information gap that faces stroke survivors and their families.
The FAST acronym stands for Face – has their face fallen on one side? Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there? Speech – is their speech slurred? Time – time to call 999 if you see any one of these signs.
Chris Macey, Irish Heart Foundation Head of Advocacy said increased access to clot-busting thrombolysis treatment and stroke unit care had the potential to reduce Mayo’s annual death toll from stroke – which claimed 86 lives in 2009 – by up to 25 per cent.
He said: “But these improved services can only have an impact if people know the warning signs of stroke and get into hospital quickly enough to benefit from them.
“For example, the time window for receiving clot-busting treatment is just four-and-a-half hours after the onset of stroke. But given that the average attack destroys two million brain cells every minute, the quicker a stroke sufferer gets in to hospital, the more of their brain quite literally can be saved.”
During Stroke Week, people can learn more about stroke through free public talks. A ‘Life After Stroke’ talk will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway on Thursday March 31 at 7pm. To register contact Sarah Horgan at 01 634 6925 or by email at [email protected] Online information is available at www.stroke.ie and queries can also be answered through the National Heart and Stroke Helpline 1890 432 787.
Learn more about FAST on www.stroke.ie It could save your life, or the life of someone you know.