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National Stroke Week starts today
[Posted: Mon 28/03/2011 www.irishhealth.com]
Plans to roll out a national programme to improve our stroke care could avert one in four stroke deaths, according to the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF).
However the IHF has pointed out that this will only happen if the public recognises when a stroke strikes and people know how to deal with such an emergency.
The message comes at the launch of National Stroke Week, which starts today.
Chris Macey, head of advocacy at the IHF, said increased access to clot-busting drugs and stroke unit care has the potential to reduce the annual death rate from stroke, which claimed 2,114 lives last year, by up to 15%.
But, he said, improved services promised by the HSE would only have an impact if people knew the warning signs of stroke and get into hospital quickly enough to benefit from these services.
The Foundation has been promoting F.A.S.T, a campaign aimed at increasing people's awareness of stroke symptoms. The letters stand for the physicals changes in the Face, Arms and Speech that occur with stroke, while the 'T' stands for Time to call 999 if these signs are seen.
The IHF is urging people to get 'stroke-smart' and learn more about stroke symptoms and prevention.
Mr Macey said 40% of strokes can be prevented through the control of high blood pressure.
"Lifestyle changes such as being more active, improving your diet, drinking in moderation and not smoking can also have a dramatic effect in lowering stroke risk."
The IHF is launching a roadshow of free public talks around the country to complement its national FAST awareness campaign on Irish TV screens. Details of times and venues are available here
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