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Sunday, September 27, 1998 Published at 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK


Public ignorant about stroke risk

Strokes or brain attacks cost the NHS £2.3bn a year

A third of people do not recognise any symptoms of a stroke, despite it being the third most common killer in the UK.

A third of 2,000 adults asked about strokes could not even identify one of the three main symptoms:

  • paralysis of one side of the body
  • sudden difficulty in understanding speech or speaking
  • sudden blurring of vision

One in six wrongly thought chest pains were a symptom.

The MORI survey, carried out for the Stroke Association, one in seven people would not seek immediate medical help if they suffered a stroke symptom.

"With a new case of stroke occurring every five minutes in this country, this lack of awareness of the signs is of great concern," said Professor John Marshall of the Stroke Association.

Brain attack

Around 300,000 people are affected by the condition which is known as brain attack and is caused by a disruption of the blood supply to the brain.

Every year more than 100,000 have their first stroke.

A third recover completely, but another third die within a year.

Strokes are the single biggest cause of disability in the UK and cost the NHS £2.3bn a year.

[ image: Strokes mostly affect old people, but they can strike the young too]
Strokes mostly affect old people, but they can strike the young too
The Stroke Association says it is vital for anyone who has a stroke symptom to seek medical help immediately.

It is publishing a leaflet, Stroke: know the warning signs, as part of national stroke awareness week.

The leaflet advises that people can reduce their risk of developing a stroke by checking their blood pressure regularly, stopping smoking, taking regular exercise, reducing their salt intake, eating lots of fruit and vegetables and avoiding drinking too much alcohol.

It also gives advice on what to do if someone develops stroke symptoms.

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