Think, act FAST if you suspect a stroke

Medical/World Stroke Graphic/ Chronic Diseace

Every day up to 360 South Africans are affected by strokes, with data suggesting that about a third of those who suffer a stroke will die, and a quarter will be left with a life-changing disability.

The risk of stroke increases with age and in South Africa stroke is the most common cause of death of people older than 50 years.

The Angels Initiative, has partnered with the South African Stroke Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA), Resuscitation Council of South Africa, Emergency Medicine Society of South Africa, Faculty of Consulting Physicians, Emergency Care Society of South Africa, among others, to strengthen engagement between key role-players to improve the prevention, detection and management of stroke.

Carica Combrink, Angels Initiative project leader, said in South Africa where 10 people suffer a stroke every hour, getting the message across to as many South Africans as possible can save the lives of countless people.

Professor Pamela Naidoo, chief executive officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, said “the public needs to be aware that adopting healthy behaviours is key to the prevention of heart disease and strokes.”

If you suspect a stroke do the FAST test:

Face: Smile and see if one side droops

Arm: Raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?

Speech: Repeat any sentence. Is there trouble speaking or understanding?

Time: Time saved is brain function saved. A person loses 1.9 million neurons each minute in which stroke is left untreated. Every minute counts in accessing care.

For more information, visit www.heartfoundation.co.za You can also find them on www.facebook.com/HeartStrokeSA and www.twitter.com/SAHeartStroke