We’re only halfway through January but the festivities and fireworks seem quite far away already. While some are dealing with the lull after the party and others are relishing in the peace of the new year, a significant majority are experiencing something quite more dramatic.
Merry Christmas and a Stressful New Year.
According to a study conducted by the Stroke Association, a staggering 15% of people in the UK consider themselves “extremely stressed heading into 2011”. Besides the obvious negative impact it can have on your mental wellbeing, high levels of stress can also increase your blood pressure – and where there’s increase blood pressure, there’s an increase risk of having a stroke.
Risk factors for stroke include:
- High blood pressure
- Bad diet
- Lack of exercise
- High level of stress.
Stroke is the third biggest killer in the UK, and it can affect people of any age. In some cases, it can be a blessing in disguise as some suffer a mild stroke despite regular exercise and a healthy diet. In those situations, it highlights a problem with the heart which the patient may not have been aware of.
FAST is an easy acronym for you to use if you suspect a stroke. The faster a stroke patient can get medical attention the better.
Face: can they smile? Is their mouth or eye drooping?
Arm: is there weakness in their arms? Can they raise both arms?
Speech: can they speak clearly and can they understand what you’re saying?
Time: if you see all three of these signs, it’s time to call 999.
24 – 30 January 2011 is Stroke for Stroke week (a campaign to raise awareness of stroke).
Image: Antonio Martinez via Flickr
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