From January this year, Livewell Southwest’s Stroke Rehabilitation Team have been working hard to raise awareness of stroke and its risk factors within the local community.
January saw the team run an information stand in Drake’s Circus Shopping Centre, where they carried out 172 blood pressure and pulse checks while also providing information on the FAST campaign in relation to recognition of stroke.
February saw the team visit the Exeter Chiefs, with a marquee at Sandy Park Stadium, where a further 41 blood pressure checks were carried out and where over half of those being checked were advised to make follow-up appointments as a result.
And finally, in March the team were supported by Plymouth Argyle with a marquee at Home Park Stadium, where people watching the match could stop by for information, advice and blood pressure checks – and did so despite the return of extremely snowy conditions!
The events were recognised on social media by Public Health England’s Jamie Waterall, Associate Deputy Chief Nurse and National Lead for CVD Prevention, who said it was “excellent to see this work happening” and expressed admiration for Stroke Clinical Nurse Specialist Donna Berry’s ‘exemplary leadership’.
Donna said: “We’d like to thank everyone who made these events possible, in particular Plymouth Argyle’s Rick Cowdery, Zac Newton and the players, whose support was invaluable.
“Of the people we tested at the three events, almost 50% having a blood pressure check required further testing due to elevated blood pressure readings.
“These events were successful in promoting awareness of stroke, teaching the general public how to recognise the symptoms and what actions to take should stroke be suspected, and the Stroke Nursing team and Stroke Association will be planning further events over the summer.”
Many people think that strokes only happen to older people but stroke can strike anyone at any time. While most people who have a stroke are older, younger people can have strokes too, including children. One in four strokes in the UK happens to people of working age. You may be at higher risk due to being overweight, having high blood pressure or another health condition, or you may have a family history of stroke.