Becky Beard, Stroke Association

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The need to respond quickly to signs of a stroke in a person was emphasised by Chloe Braidford, Community and Events Fundraiser with the Stroke Association when she addressed members of Dover Rotary Club. She reminded members there were two principal causes of stroke relating to impairment in the brain. A blockage in blood vessels in the brain resulted in an ischaemic stroke which accounted for 80% of stroke victims or a bleed in the brain accounting for 20%.

More than 100,000 strokes occurred per annum and each stroke can lead either to permanent complications for the rest of the person’s life or death. She indicated that the effect of stroke on a person’s life was immediate and profound but if a person suffering from an ischaemic stroke received a thrombolysis process within four hours blockages can be broken up, improving the chances of recovery. FAST was used to remind people that if a person’s Face showed signs of dropping, and / or an Arm could not be raised and / or Speech was impaired it was necessary to Think that a stroke was a medical emergency needing an immediate response.

45% of people subsequently discharged from hospital were affected by abandonment but in Kent the Stroke Association offered a range of supports for the rehabilitation process over a period of time. Notwithstanding long-term problems could include mobility or speech impairment, depression, memory loss, mood swings. Various risk factors were highlighted including high blood pressure and Chloe thanked the Club for its annual Stroke Awareness Day event in Dover where blood pressures of up to 400 people have been taken in one day in recent years.

Aided by her assistant Tilly, she illustrated her talk on a PowerPoint presentation. The Rotary Club members organise an annual Stroke Awareness Day in Dover Town Centre supported by Community First Responders and volunteers from the Ambulance Service, when free blood pressure checks are offered.