Left: Boston Stroke Club Secretary - Joe Nash 

 Boston Stroke Club Next Meeting:

Stroke Support Club

There is a stroke support club in Boston, for everyone affected by a stroke, patients, family, or carers. Even if you do not regularly attend our support at the beginning of your new journey makes all the difference. The group currently have about 20 hardcore members with more on our mailing list. All have got very varied disabilities, as is the way with strokes, and they are in the main are accompanied by their wives or husbands who have also been thrust into a frightening new life. Our members are from all walks of life but the bond of a common condition has to be seen to be believed. Hopefully without starting a riot I can say that I think the youngest person effected by a stroke is in their thirties and the oldest definitely qualifies for a bus pass. The group gets together bi monthly for a meal and monthly for a chat and a meeting round a table, often with a guest speaker. There are the occasional trips as well.

Its wonderful to have new friends who know what you are going though, will not judge and even help with the getting your life back on track, even if it’s a different one. We are building a database of support organisations whether it is for financial benefits or physical aids or leisure activities. The part we enjoy the most is the friendly good-humoured meetings that give us social support.

It is a club where the members govern its activities and decide is the best way forward. If you, your family or friends have been affected by a stroke or you are interested in helping those affected please contact either:

Sally Emery Tel (01205) 351381

Joe Nash Tel (01205 311255

Email: Joe at joe.nash@btopenworld.com

We are not part of the Stroke Association

 

Why is it called a stroke? I thought I had been hit by a bus.

Stroke has been described as ‘an earthquake in the brain’. The shockwaves of stroke can leave a lasting and profound impact on how people move, see, speak, feel or understand their world. His includes changing personalities, depression and other mental health problems.  This has a major impact on people’s lives and costs the NHS and the economy about £7 billion a year.

There are two main types of stroke:

One is caused by a clot narrowing or blocking of blood vessels stopping blood reaching the brain, which kills brain cells due to lack of oxygen, the 2nd is caused by a bursting of blood vessels bleeding into the brain and drowning cells. Transient ischaemic attacks (TIA’s), are minor strokes and resolve themselves within 24 hours.

• Every year approximately 110,000 people in England have a stroke.
• Stroke is the third largest cause of death in England
• 25 per cent of strokes occur in people who are under the age of 65.
• There are over 900,000 people living in England who have had a  stroke.
• Stroke is the single largest cause of adult disability.

A Stroke is often preventable.  Too few people understand what a stroke is, how to reduce their own risk of having a stroke, or know to call 999 when symptoms occur.

The  NHS is striving to implement improvements to stroke services:

There is now a move in favour of:
• Specialist stroke units;
• Regarding acute stroke as an emergency;
• Rapid access to services for people who have had a TIA;
• Immediate access to diagnostic scans and to thrombolysis for patients  whose stroke was caused by a clot;
• Early supported discharge for people with moderate disability as a  result of stroke;
• More emphasis on prevention and public awareness; and
• Better support for all people living with stroke in the long term.
 however, there is considerable variation in service provision across the  country.

Key facts
• Even NHS Direct and some GPs fail to recognise stroke symptoms as a  medical emergency meaning that urgent medical treatment for stroke is  delayed.
• A poll commissioned in 2005 suggested that only half of people asked  can correctly identify what a stroke is,
• Sixty per cent would contact their GP or NHS Direct, and only a third of  respondents would call an ambulance or go to hospital.
• More women who have strokes die from them compared with men.
• However, stroke is more common in men compared with women by the  age of 75.
• People who are overweight or obese, and who also suffer from  hypertension, have a higher risk of stroke.

A lot of people do not know what a stroke is, what the symptoms are, or that it is a treatable disease that warrants a fast response. Nor do they know what their own risk of having a stroke is, how to reduce that risk, or that stroke is largely preventable. Unbelievably knowledge about stroke is also low among health and social care professionals.

There are training plans for key frontline staff to ensure that training includes the use of the FAST – The Face-Arm-Speech-Test, to recognise stroke symptoms.

FAST.
F is for facial numbness or weakness, especially on one side.
A is for arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side.
S is for slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding.
T is for time; it's time to call 999 because "Time is Brain."

We could add;
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

People should seek medical attention within two hours of stroke symptom onset or with a suspected acute stroke they are seen within the recommended time window (currently three hours)

Ambulance trusts to ensure that crews are trained in stroke recognition. (F.A.S.T.)

Investigating and treating high-risk patients with TIA within 24 hours could produce an 80 per cent reduction in the number of people who go on to have a full stroke.