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Act FAST if you suspect a stroke and dial 999


By Chris Saunderson

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TODAY is World Stroke Day and Scottish health charity, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is reinforcing the importance of recognising the signs and symptoms of stroke and acting FAST.

The charity is concerned that people are putting off going to hospital because of coronavirus.

Carole Fortune (56) and her daughter Jade (24) have joined forces with the charity to remind people that stroke is a medical emergency and that they need to seek medical attention if they think they’re having a stroke.

Carole Fortune and her daughter Jade.
Carole Fortune and her daughter Jade.

People are urged to act FAST and call 999 as soon as you experience symptoms. The simple acronym reminds people of the key signs of stroke:

  • FACE – Can the person smile, does one side of their face droop?
  • ARM – Can they lift both arms? Is one weak?
  • SPEECH – Is their speech slurred or muddled?
  • TIME – If these symptoms are present, call 999

Carole and her daughter Jade know all too well the importance of recognising the signs of a stroke and acting quickly.

Carole, a beauty therapist said: “My life changed forever when I had a stroke last year. I woke up on the bedroom floor and couldn’t push myself up.At first, I thought it was because I had overdone it in the gym the night before.

“But I knew there was something seriously wrong when I had no feeling in my left arm and leg, so I shouted on my daughter Jade who thankfully was in the house.”

Jade explained how she coped when she saw her mum: “When I heard my mum shout for me that morning, I ran through, I could see her lying on the floor beside her bed and immediately noticed the left side of her face had drooped. I knew exactly what was happening and that I needed to get an ambulance urgently.

“I was so scared, but I knew getting her to the hospital as soon as possible would get her the help she needed.

“It’s so important for people to know and spot the signs of a stroke FAST.”

Carole, from Edinburgh, speaking of her daughters quick thinking added:“I would hate to think what might have happened to me if Jade hadn’t reacted so quickly.

“I was taken to hospital and was given medication to dissolve the blood clot.Thankfully the doctors began to see an improvement in my drooping face and I got the feeling back in my arm within an hour.

"I have continued to recover well because I was in good physical shape prior to my stroke and because I got to hospital so quickly, which definitely improved my chances. I am so grateful.

“Everyone needs to know the FAST message especially right now, and they should not think twice about calling 999 in they suspect a stroke.”

Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “Stroke doesn’t stop because of coronavirus; it can happen at any time and anywhere. As we face the second wave of the virus, we don’t want people to put off going to hospital.

Jane-Claire Judson. Picture: Chris Watt
Jane-Claire Judson. Picture: Chris Watt

“By the end of today, 25 people across Scotland will have had a stroke. The same will happen tomorrow.

“Coronavirus is at the forefront of all of our minds right now, but it's vital that people don’t forget that a stroke is a medical emergency. NHS stroke staff are on-hand to help you and save people’s lives.

“It is vital that we are all aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and phone 999 immediately if someone needs urgent medical attention. These symptoms aren’t something for deliberation, if you see these signs, you must act FAST and save a life.”

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