Photo credit: Nicolas J Leclercq via

Established by the World Stroke Organisation (WSO), World Stroke Day happens each October 29. The day was set up to provide a global platform for the stroke community to increase awareness and drive action on stroke around the world.

So how does this affect Merseyside?

Of the roughly 550,000 people in the Liverpool NHS CCG (clinical commissioning group), 9,657 are living stroke survivors.

Shelly, a stroke nurse with the NHS, explained the effects strokes can have: “Strokes can affect anyone at any time. In my role I see patients from the age of 17 upwards – my oldest patient to date was 118!

“Stroke is a sudden, ongoing loss of function, the most common symptoms can be sudden loss of movement, sensation, vision, hearing or balance.

“Sometimes we do not know why a stroke has occurred and as human flesh and blood we go wrong sometimes.

“However, there are factors which can increase your risk of Stroke, such as smoking, drinking excess alcohol, illegal drugs, high blood pressure,  obesity, Diabetes, excess salt and sugar in your diet and heart disease.”

In the UK, a stroke happens every five minutes.

To understand the symptoms of a stroke, and know what to look out for, visit the NHS Stroke page here. 

The NHS works tirelessly to provide treatment and aid recovery for those affected by strokes. Teams of specialists including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dietitians all play a role in rehabilitation. Shelley added that the NHS is struggling at the moment, due to staff shortages.

“We have been exceptionally busy over the last 5 years that I have worked here and our case loads are rising year on year. Our patients are being discharged from hospital earlier as they try to cope with the increasing bed demands and staff shortages.”

If you suspect that somebody is having a stroke, follow Shelley’s advice and use the acronym FAST:

“FAST is an easy recognised tool to help if you suspect anyone is suffering a Stroke. Has the persons Face dropped on one side? Can they raise both Arms and keep them there? Is their Speech slurred? Is it Time to call 999?

“Any suspected Stroke is a clinical emergency so call 999. The earlier we can assess and provide treatment the better the outcome for the patient.”

There are a number of available resources and support groups for people closely affected by stroke. One organisation which works in the Merseyside area, and across the UK, is The Stroke Association.

The Stroke Association is a charity working across the UK to support people to rebuild their lives after stroke. They said: “We believe that everyone deserves to live the best life they can after stroke.

“We want to drive improvements in stroke prevention, treatment and care through influencing policy and practice.

“We want to reach more people and improve the experience we give to everyone we have a relationship with​. And we want to enable communities to take action on stroke that is purposeful and meaningful to them​​.”

The Stroke Association has a huge database of useful information, head to their website or contact them to learn more about how they can help you.

The Association added: “From local support services and groups, to online information and support, anyone affected by stroke can visit or call our dedicated Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 to find out about support available locally. ”

Featured image: Nicolas J Leclercq via Unsplash.Com


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