More than a third of stroke cases occur in those aged between 40 to 69 years old, a report by PHE stated. In addition, more first-time strokes are now occurring at an earlier age compared to a decade ago.
PHE Director, Professor Julia Verne, is concerned by this trend, and said: “Everyone needs to be aware of the signs.”
- Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
- Speech – is their speech slurred?
- Time – to call 999
The Stroke Association identified three markers for increasing your risk profile of having a stroke. These are:
- Family history of stroke
- High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a significant risk factor, contributing to half of stroke cases.
Anybody over the age of 40 is encouraged to monitor their blood pressure – monitors are available to buy at pharmacies.
Lifestyle factors that increase blood pressure are smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating unhealthy foods.
Eating too much salt is also risky, as it will increase your blood pressure reading.
The easiest way to cut down on salt is to eat less salty foods, choose low-salt options if buying packaged foods, and don’t add salt into your cooking.
High blood pressure puts extra strain on all the blood vessels in the body, causing them to become stiff and narrow.
Stiff and narrow blood arteries may cause clots to form; if the clot travels to the brain, it causes a stroke.
This is another way the blood arteries become stiff and narrow, which can make it harder for blood to flow to vital organs.
There are no warning signs of high cholesterol, so you need to have it checked via a blood test.
Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat, which increases the likelihood of a blood clot forming.
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include: heart palpitations, breathlessness, chest pain and fatigue.