Stroke news roundup: May 2022

woman reading newspaper in cafe

Every month we publish a collection of the stroke stories making headlines. This month our roundup focuses on raising awareness.

May was Stroke Awareness Month. And it couldn't have come at a better time.

Topping the news this month was a survey that found half of all people in the UK were unaware of how serious a stroke can be.

The Stroke Association conducted a survey to find out how much people in the UK knew about stroke. We asked 2,005 people to rank health conditions in order of leading cause of death. We also asked people about the lasting effects of a stroke for survivors.

We'll start with the facts.

  • Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the UK.
  • Stroke is the fifth leading cause of disability in the UK. Over 66% of stroke survivors are left with a disability.

Over 50% of people surveyed ranked stroke as a lower risk of death than it actually is. And over 18% of people don't realise how many survivors have a disability.

Those numbers are even higher when it comes to knowing the lasting effects of stroke. For example, 67% didn't know that fatigue is a comment symptom after stroke. And 74% didn't know that stroke can affect your hearing.

You can read more about the result of this survey in the Stroke Rehab Times.

The Stroke Association used the results of this survey to draw attention to the underfunding of stroke research. Our Associate Director Scotland was quoted in North Edinburgh News:

"Far less is spent ‘per survivor’ on research into stroke than on research into any other health condition. We would never want to take researchers or money away from other conditions such as cancer, but we do want to replicate the success that cancer research has had, so that we can continue to make breakthroughs in stroke treatment and care."

John Watson, Associate Director Scotland of the Stroke Association

Medical news

Raising awareness of the effects of stroke is important. It is also important for people to know about the signs of stroke.

Sharing "unusual" or "uncommon" signs of a stroke is important.

The symptoms used in the FAST test (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) educate people about the three most common symptoms of a stroke.

But there are other signs that people should be aware of. These include:

  • Problems with balance and co-ordination
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences
  • Difficulty understanding what others are saying
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
  • A sudden, severe headache "resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before"
  • Loss of consciousness

You can read more about this story on the Liverpool Echo.

Survivor stories

Stroke survivors are also calling for more awareness of the effects and symptoms of stroke.

Stroke survivor calls for more awareness

The story of Glen Eastick is one that surprises people outside of the survivor community. He was 33 and a personal trainer when he had a stroke caused by a hole in his heart. But stroke can happen to anyone at any time.

"I’ve been very fortunate to make a good recovery but others aren’t so fortunate which is why research is so important.”

Glen Eastick, stroke survivor

There are 1.3 million people living with the effects of stroke in the UK and 2.5 million living with cancer. Annually only 1.2% of research budgets (around £30m) are spent on stroke. Compare that with 14.8% (approximately £400m) on cancer.

You can read more about Glen's story on Portsmouth News.

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