News roundup: May 2023

Ashley
man reading a newspaper on a ferry

Stroke makes headlines every month. It can be hard to keep track of all the stories. So every month we collect the stories that catch our eye and publish them in a single place.

Summertime 

Going on holiday is a great way to relax and recharge. But it can be tricky after a stroke.  

Greece is looking to make holidays there more accessible. They've committed to making 287 beaches wheelchair accessible using a new track system. An impressive 140 beaches on the mainland and island have had the track installed.  

"Equal access to the sea is an inalienable human right. People with disabilities and people with limited mobility are given the opportunity to participate in beach activities with family and friends." 

Vassilis Kikilias, Tourism Minister  

You can read more about it in The Mirror. 

If you don't feel like going all the way to Greece to visit the beach, you can check out this list of the UK's most accessible beaches. 

We also have some general information about travelling and going on holiday after a stroke here

Survivor stories: Aphasia documentary  

Last month saw the release of a new documentary made by the Stroke Association. It is called When The Words Away Went and it focuses on the journey of three stroke survivors who have aphasia. You can watch the documentary here.  

Jennie Gow, a BBC F1 broadcaster who recently had a stroke, shared the trailer on her Twitter account saying: 

"Until I suffered from Aphasia, I didn't know what it was." 

Jennie Gow, stroke survivor and broadcaster 

You can read more about Jennie's stroke and recover in this BBC article. 

Survivor stories: volunteering 

Alister Mejury had a stroke in October 2019. During his recovery, he recorded videos of himself carrying out simple tasks around the house. In one, shared in this article in The Paisley Gazette, he shows how he makes a sandwich with only one arm. 

Alister also found real benefit from speaking to other stroke survivors at his local stroke cafe. In fact, he found the experience so helpful, that he decided to volunteer.  

“I wanted to help people who have been through a stroke and are dealing with its devastating effects. I remember what it was like for me, having my world turned upside down and feeling alone. So I thought volunteering at the café would help others like me.”  

Alister Mejury, stroke survivor

Stroke cafes like the one that Alister helps run are so important for people. And the Stroke Association wouldn't be able to keep them going without the amazing work of people like Alister. 

So a massive THANK YOU to Alister and all our volunteers. 

Medical news 

In this month's medical news section, we're looking at two stories about prevention. 

Reducing inequalities in blood pressure control 

High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke. Fortunately it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. But not everyone gets the support they need to reduce their blood pressure.  

Two GP practices in Lambeth, South London, compared their white and BAME (black and minority ethnic) patients with high blood pressure. They found a big gap in whether patients were managing their blood pressure: slightly over half of the BAME patients met the target compared to two thirds of the white patients. They decided to run a project to help more people meet the target and reduce this gap. 

Over a period of 12 months, the GP practices asked their patients with high blood pressure to take a blood pressure reading. They then provided guidance and information to people with high readings. By the end of the year, 9 in 10 of all patients under 80 had their blood pressure under control. This was roughly the same for white and BAME patients. 

“It’s brilliant to see such fantastic results from this 12-month programme which show that using tailored approaches to access healthcare can improve overall diagnosis of high blood pressure and helps close the inequality gap in its treatment.”  

Michelle Dalmacio, the Stroke Association’s Associate Director for London 

You can read more about this project in Pulse Today

The link between TIAs and stroke 

Did you know the Stroke Association funds research on stroke prevention, treatment, rehab and long-term care? One of our new projects could help predict who might go on to have a stroke after a TIA (transient ischaemic attack).  

Researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University will be looking at blood samples donated by people who’ve had a TIA. They want to understand whether a commonly-used blood clotting test can predict whether they will go on to have a stroke. The researchers want to see if they can more accurately identify people who are at higher risk of a stroke after a TIA. This would mean they could be offered tailored treatment to help reduce this risk 

“Having a TIA is a major sign that having a full-blown stroke could be on the way. We need to know more about the link between TIA and stroke risk, so that we can better predict and have strategies to prevent stroke in people who have had a TIA.”  

Katie Chappelle, Stroke Association Associate Director Wales 

You can read more about this research project on Wales247

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