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​Act F.A.S.T to save lives in Southwark

The quicker people get help for someone who has had a suspected stroke, the better their chance of recovery. 

Stroke is now one of the biggest killers in the UK and one of the largest causes of disability among those who survive.

More than 3,000 people have suffered a stroke in Southwark. Black and minority communities are twice as likely as their white counterparts to have a stroke and the likelihood increases with age, with the risk doubling every ten years after the age of 55.

Southwark's elderly population is the fastest growing age group in the borough, highlighting the importance of adopting a healthier lifestyle to greatly reduce the threat of stroke and other conditions.

Call 999 without delay if you suspect that someone may have had a stroke. F.A.S.T helps us remember the tell-tale signs. These are:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms - can they raise both arms and keep them there?  
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time - time to call 999 if you see any one of these signs.

A stroke is sudden and it is important to call an ambulance as soon as possible. Some people mistakenly think that they need to see two or more signs before calling 999 but they must make the call if they see just one of the symptoms. The quicker people are treated, the better their chances of recovery.

A stroke is caused by a bleed on the brain due to a burst blood vessel or by a blood clot which stops blood getting to the brain. People can also suffer a 'mini stroke' or 'warning stroke.' Symptoms may include sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes; sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body (including in your leg); sudden memory loss or confusion; sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms.

These symptoms may go away but one-in-twelve people will have a stroke within a week of having them so you should still call 999 if any of these symptoms occur.

For further information, please visit NHS Choices