It is World Stroke Awareness Day on 29th October.
Once again it is time to remind everyone of the excellent work charities like The Stroke Association and InterAct Reading do in supporting stroke survivors.
Personally, I have had the privilege of using their services myself and recommend them both on a regular basis. So if you are looking for a new charity to donate to, please consider these particular charities.
You have probably seen the “FAST” adverts on TV and in the Press, but as a reminder, here are some key stats and facts:-
Key facts about stroke:
- There are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK every year. That is more than one every five minutes.
- There are approximately 1.1 million stroke survivors living in the UK.
- Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability. More than half of all stroke survivors are left dependent on others for everyday activities.
- High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke, contributing to about 50% of all strokes.
- One in five strokes are fatal. Stroke causes about 7% of deaths in men and 10% of deaths in women.
- In 2010 stroke was the fourth largest cause of death in the UK after cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, causing almost 50,000 deaths.
- For every cancer patient living in the UK, £295 is spent each year on medical research, compared with just £22 a year for every stroke patient.
Note: Although stroke incidence is higher for men, there are more strokes in women because women generally live longer than men. 80% of subarachnoid haemorrhages occur in women.
When a loved one or close friend suffers a stroke, it is also extremely difficult for others around them to understand what has happened, what this means for the survivor in the short/longer term/ and how best they can help with recovery.
Recovery is a very personal thing and will differ from patient to patient. Additionally, they may have to overcome whatever disabilities (temporary or permanent) that might result from the stroke. They may also suffer from depression, a fact which is often missed.
For the stroke survivor, it is not just a case of coping themselves, but also watching others around them while they feel helpless and possibly not coping.
This is when support charities can help, i.e. for severe cases when the survivor has lost the power of speech, InterAct Reading can help by providing one of their team of volunteer actors to read to the patient.
They work in close liaison with hospitals and stroke clubs, and help to improve an individual’s recovery from a stroke by:
- improving mood
- alleviating post-stroke depression
- increasing self-esteem
- boosting communication confidence
- stimulating the brain
- providing entertainment
Obviously the best any of us can do is to keep healthy by eating sensibly, taking regular exercise and avoiding stress. Okay. That’s possibly easier said than done, I know. But exercise needn’t mean a visit to the gym. It can simply mean a brisk walk every day. And as for avoiding stress, treat yourself to a regular massage. I’m looking forward to my regular Indian head massage.
Stay positive and keep well.
Credo Marketing & Publishing
- The Stroke Awareness Association website address is www.stroke.org.uk and their helpline number is 0303 303 3100. They also have a brilliant selection of advice literature which can be downloaded and/or purchased in hard copy.
- The Interact Reading website, including a list of the hospitals they support, can be found at www.interactreading.org. Their contact number is: 020 7931 6458.