The stroke unit team at Mayo General Hospital have held a very successful F.A.S.T. stroke awareness day at the hospital, with over 220 people attending to talk to health professionals and ask questions about stroke prevention and management.
The event was held to raise awareness of the risks of stroke by alerting people to the key warning signs and the urgent need to seek emergency treatment when the disease strikes.
Information stands in the main foyer of the hospital were operated by doctors, nurses, a dietician, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and a social worker, and people were able to ask questions and raise any areas of concern in relation to themselves or family members.
The F.A.S.T. acronym has been developed to inform the public about the key symptoms of a stroke, namely:Face
- has the face fallen on one side? Can they smile?Arms
- can they raise both arms and keep them there?Speech
- is their speech slurred?Time
- time to call 999 if you see any one of these signs.
Colette Murray, clinical nurse manager in elderly medicine, Mayo General Hospital, who organised the awareness day, was very pleased with the turnout.
She said: "We are delighted people took the opportunity to come and talk to the health professionals about this very serious disease.
"The day also allowed us to promote our own stroke service and to provide information on stroke, risk factors and prevention to the general public."
Stroke is Ireland's third biggest killer disease and, according to new research from the Irish Heart Foundation, less than 50 per cent of Irish adults would ring 999 if they thought they were having a stroke.
More than 2,000 people are killed by stroke each year and thousands more are left to confront lifelong disabilities.
Said Ms. Murray: "The most important message we got across is that it is vital to seek emergency treatment immediately after a stroke. This can mean the difference between walking out of a hospital and being able to resume a normal fulfilling life, and either death or spending the rest of your life being dependent on others.
"It is important to reiterate that if someone manifests one or more of the first three symptoms of stroke, namely the face has fallen on one side, the arms can't be raised and the speech is slurred, then the emergency services should be contacted immediately."
For further information on stroke and heart disease, see www.irishheart.ie