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Ambulance Service Reminds People to Learn FAST

28 May 2010

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is reminding members of the public to ‘learn FAST and become a life-saver’.

FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999) is a simple test to help recognise the tell-tale signs of a stroke. It involves checking for movements in a person’s face and arms, identifying whether their speech is slurred and calling 999 for immediate emergency treatment.

Stroke is caused by a blood clot on the brain and can result in major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems and even death.

Over the past two years Yorkshire Ambulance Service has established ‘stroke pathways’ across the region which enable ambulance clinicians to FAST-track patients to specialist stroke centres for life-saving thrombolysis treatment.

Jacqui Crossley, lead for stroke and cardiac care at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “Stroke is a medical emergency and the sooner it is identified, the better.
“It is vital that people take speedy action in the event of stroke to prevent further damage to the brain.

“The sooner the symptoms are recognised and an ambulance is called, the quicker the person will receive the early treatment they need to increase their chances of survival and improve their chance of making a full recovery.

“The FAST test can be carried out by anyone and is a really effective way of spotting the typical signs of a stroke which may save a life.”

In April 2010 alone the Trust received over 1,000 emergency calls across the county for patients with suspected stroke.

It is a common misconception that stroke only happens to older people. Of the estimated 150,000 strokes that occur every year in the UK, a quarter of them will happen to people aged under 65.

Strokes can be prevented through lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet - particularly reducing salt intake, drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking and taking regular exercise.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department