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Local South Asian people urged to know and act fast on signs of stroke

20th May 2020 | By Melanie Shilton | Posted in

Local people from South Asian backgrounds are being urged to know the signs of stroke and dial 999 for help if they experience stroke symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic.

The call to action from Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups (LLR CCGs) complements national awareness of the NHS ‘Act FAST’ campaign calling for people to seek emergency help if they or a loved one has stroke symptoms – and not put if off because of coronavirus.

A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Damage to the brain can affect how the body works and can also change how the person with stroke can think and feel.

Leicester City in particular, has a diverse South Asian population and so it’s important to know what to do. South Asian people may have a higher risk of stroke, because they are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for stroke.

They may also be more likely to carry weight around their waist, smoke and not get enough exercise, which can all increase the chances of developing medical conditions linked to stroke, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Additionally, there may be a genetic link that makes people in this ethnic group more likely to have a stroke, so it’s important to understand individual risk factors.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, Clinical Chair of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning group and GP at the East Leicester Medical Practice, said: “NHS figures show that visits to A&E in April dropped by almost 60 per cent in the Midlands. This is disturbing because people with life threatening and serious conditions may not be coming forward for help.

“People of South Asian backgrounds are around twice as likely to develop diabetes as the rest of the UK population.
“They are also more likely to develop it at an earlier age and experience other health complications such as stroke because of this.

“I want to assure people in LLR that we are well planned and prepared to react to the coronavirus pandemic. The local NHS is open and able to safely provide care for anyone who needs it, so please don’t put off seeking medical care. If you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, dial 999 immediately.”

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and emphasises the importance of acting quickly by calling 999:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999

Further information about stroke including prevention is available on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/

The Stoke Association has produced a useful guide for South Asian people: https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/user_profile/information_for_south_asian_people.pdf

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