The Stroke Association is calling for people across Manchester to be more aware of the early warning signs of stroke, and to share the FAST message to help save more lives.
The FAST Test identifies the three most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:
FACE: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
TIME to call 999
Will Martin, 43, from West Didsbury, survived a stroke in 2015 and is now spreading the word about recognising the FAST Test symptoms. Will had a stroke whilst getting ready for work, and his partner found him on the floor, noticing his fallen face and slurred speech. Remembering the FAST test, she rang 999 immediately.
Will has permanent brain tissue damage, and has psychological, emotional and cognitive difficulties as a result of his stroke. He has since completed forty four park runs and the Berlin Marathon in aid of the Stroke Association, eats a healthy diet and regularly monitors his blood pressure.
Will said: "I was so lucky to be found so quickly and treated so quickly, that someone had recognised the FAST signs and had the foresight to call 999. If my partner hadn’t known about FAST or been around to find me, I might have waited a lot longer for medical attention. Stroke has no respect for age. I was 42 when I had my stroke. In an instant my life changed forever, but things could have been catastrophic without the FAST test."
Chris Larkin, Regional Director at the Stroke Association, said: “Having a stroke is devastating. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. Every second counts when you are having a stroke, so recognising the signs and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial. A stroke is a medical emergency – as serious as a heart attack, so you need to seek immediate medical help. The quicker a person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment to minimise the impact of their stroke.
“We want more people in Manchester to learn the FAST test and share it with their friends and family to help others to save lives, and improve the chance of a better recovery for those who experience stroke.”
To find out more about the FAST campaign, and to view information and support available, visit www.stroke.org.uk/FAST.