Sadly Never Too Young

As stroke survivors, we know that sadly no one is too young to have a stroke, children even babies can have strokes. This is something I incorporate in my talks in the hope to raise greater awareness and understanding of stroke. I do not mind admitting, and as part of Public Health England’s, FAST Campaign, I explain how naive I was prior to my strokes. The signs were there, yet because I was slim, fit, healthy and young I believed it could not be a stroke. I thought, if I was older I know this would be me having a stroke, but as I was only 45 I honestly believed at the time I was too young!!!

How many of us until more recently, believed stroke only happened to older people? Sadly many people, despite the increased awareness, still believe this to be the case.

The average age for people affected by stroke has dropped over the last decade from 71 to 68 for men and for a woman from 75 to 73 between the years of 2007 and 2016 this said 38% of strokes now occur in the age range 40 and 69 according to data from Public Health England.

Professor Julia Verne, director of  Public Health England (PHE), said “Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in England. While it’s often associated with older people, the latest research shows that people are having strokes at a younger age. Everyone needs to be aware of the signs”.

I ask the question, depending on how long ago your stroke was, were you aware of the signs at the time? If people were around you when you had your stroke, were they aware of the signs?

One in six people in England will suffer a stroke in their lifetime and it is estimated that 30% of those will have a second one – I did.

People between the ages of 40 and 74 have been urged by the NHS to have a health check to identify if they are at risk. We can do our part too, whatever age we are, we must keep an eye on our salt, sugar and fat intake, where possible we exercise. If we experience any heart palpitations, dizziness, we visit our doctor, we must be aware of our blood pressure, if you smoke – try to give up, and do not binge drink.

It is the young that I particularly feel for, and am still evermore passionate about raising greater awareness, as often stroke in the young presents itself very slightly differently. When seeking the help they need they are turned away, possibly thought to be drunk.

Please, please if you ever suspect anyone is having a stroke however young act FAST do not worry about being wrong, call 999 immediately.

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