New F.A.S.T. Stroke campaign highlights importance of Time

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   23rd Nov 2020

The Irish Heart Foundation’s new F.A.S.T. campaign raises awareness of the signs of stroke and importance of getting urgent medical attention

Almost half of Irish people would not call an ambulance immediately if they suffered a stroke, a worrying new survey has revealed.

The survey of more than 1,000 Irish people commissioned by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Government of Ireland, shows that just 55 per cent of those surveyed would dial 999 or 112 immediately if they suffered a stroke despite the fact that stroke is a medical emergency.

The Ipsos MRBI survey of just over 1,000 people aged 15 and older, revealed that 55 per cent of people said the first thing they would do if they were suffering a stroke would be call an ambulance, with women more likely to do so than men.

According to the survey, 26 per cent of respondents said they would tell a family member or friend while 5 per cent would contact their GP as their first port of call. Just 2 per cent of those surveyed said they would wait and see, try to relax or ignore the symptoms, with men more likely than women to have this response.

The results of the survey come as the Irish Heart Foundation and the Government of Ireland launch a new Act F.A.S.T. (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) campaign to raise awareness of the signs of stroke and the importance of getting urgent medical attention.

“While treatments for stroke have improved dramatically over the past decade, they still rely on people getting to hospital as soon as possible,"

Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy, The Irish Heart Foundation

How to Act F.A.S.T.

A simple test can help you recognise if someone has had a stroke:

Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?

Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time to call 112 or 999 for an ambulance if you spot any one of these signs.

Every minute matters so act F.A.S.T.

The new #actfast campaign was launched today (Nov23) by the Ireland’s fastest woman, international sprinter Phil Healy, on behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation.

“On average, 21 people will have a stroke every day, but 10 of them do not know they need to get to hospital as quickly as possible,” said Chris Macey, the Irish Heart Foundation’s Head of Advocacy.

“When someone has a stroke, minutes matter and they cost real lives. A stroke kills two million brain cells every minute – and every 60 seconds saved between having a stroke to getting effective treatment saves one week of healthy life for a patient,” he added.

The Ipsos MRBI survey of just over 1,000 people aged 15 and older, revealed that 55 per cent of people said the first thing they would do if they were suffering a stroke would be call an ambulance with women more likely to do so than men.

According to the survey, 26 per cent of respondents said would tell a family member or friend while 5 per cent would contact their GP as their first port of call. Just 2 per cent of those surveyed said they would wait and see, try to relax or ignore the symptoms, with men more likely than women to have this response.

“While treatments for stroke have improved dramatically over the past decade, they still rely on people getting to hospital as soon as possible after a stroke,” said Mr Macey.

“One of those treatments must be administered within four and a half hours of the stroke, but the HSE’s most recent stroke register shows that roughly four stroke sufferers in every ten don’t get to hospital quickly enough to receive it.

“The register indicates a worrying trend with 59 per cent of people getting to hospital within four hours, whereas in the previous results in 2015, 56 per cent got there within three hours.”

“Stroke is one of the few conditions where your own actions and the speed of your response can determine your outcome,”

Phil Healy, Ireland's fastest woman , F.A.S.T. campaign ambassador

Cork native Phil Healy, holder of the 100m and 200m sprint records knows the importance of time and is an ambassador for the Act F.A.S.T. Campaign.

“Stroke is one of the few conditions where your own actions and the speed of your response can determine your outcome,” she said.

“As a runner, speed is of the essence for me and every millisecond makes a difference. I’ve also trained in nursing, and so I am only too aware of the need to act fast in the event of a stroke, to have the best possible chance at recovering.”

“I’m delighted to support this campaign and get the important message out. Act F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke – facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time.”

“The faster you get to hospital, the better the recovery can be. Our acute hospitals around Ireland are open and operating safely,"

Minister Stephen Donnelly, T.D., Minister for Health

Welcoming the launch of the campaign, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said stroke doesn’t stop during a global pandemic and he emphasised the importance of getting to hospital as soon as possible.

“Stroke doesn’t stop during a pandemic and it is as important as ever that if you or someone you know is suffering a stroke, that you call 112 or 999 immediately.

“The faster you get to hospital, the better the recovery can be. Our acute hospitals around Ireland are open and operating safely. They have infection prevention measures in place to treat patients while protecting them from Covid-19. You can trust our dedicated doctors, nurses, paramedics, healthcare workers and all hospital staff. They will take care of you.”

The Ipsos MRBI survey also revealed that a majority of people cited slurred speech as one of the main warning signs of a stroke, followed by facial weakness, the overall FAST message and weakness on one side of the body.

A total of 44 per cent saw smoking as the number one risk factor linked to stroke, with excess weight, lack of exercise and poor diet blamed as the other principal risks.

The main risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, having a higher weight and heavy drinking. Atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that is also associated with an increased risk of stroke. All of these risks can be modified or changed with medication and lifestyle changes.

For more details on the new #actfast campaign please see here 

 

Share

Facebook Twiter Email

Related Topics

act F.A.S.T. ambulance emergency F.A.S.T. Government Minister for Health National Ambulance Service stroke

More on Stroke News

Stroke Conference for Healthcare Professionals

The Irish Heart Foundation's 24th Annual Stroke Conference to take place virtually on the 16th of April

Read More

Stroke News   |   1st Apr 2021

Urgent reminder not to ignore the symptoms of a TIA

Experts warn not to ignore the signs of a TIA or mini stroke

Read More

Stroke News   |   1st Apr 2021

Life On a Plateau – Life after stroke and Covid anxieties

Stroke survivor Joe Vanek, reflects on life after stroke in the middle of a pandemic.

Read More

Stroke News   |   22nd Mar 2021

More than half of stroke patients attend hospital too late

New Irish National Audit of Stroke -stroke patients attending hospital too late for treatment

Read More

Stroke News   |   16th Dec 2020