Would you recognise the signs of a stroke?

If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Even if the symptoms disappear while you’re waiting for the ambulance, it’s still important to go to hospital for an assessment.

After an initial assessment, you may need to be admitted to hospital for a more in-depth assessment. Specialist treatment may also begin if this is necessary.

Stroke Victim

Symptoms of a stroke that disappear quickly and in less than 24 hours may mean you had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). These symptoms should also be treated as a medical emergency to reduce the chances of having another stroke.

Recognising the signs of a stroke

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, but usually begin suddenly.
As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage.

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.:

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.

Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

It’s important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for somebody in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure.

Other possible symptoms

Symptoms in the F.A.S.T. test identify most strokes, but occasionally a stroke can cause different symptoms.

Other symptoms and signs may include:

complete paralysis of one side of the body
sudden loss or blurring of vision
difficulty understanding what others are saying
problems with balance and co-ordination
difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
loss of consciousness
However, there may be other causes for these symptoms.
Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

The symptoms of a TIA, also known as a mini-stroke, are the same as a stroke, but tend to only last between a few minutes and a few hours before disappearing completely.
Although the symptoms do improve, a TIA should never be ignored as it’s a serious warning sign of a problem with the blood supply to your brain. It means you’re at an increased risk of having a stroke in the near future.
If you’ve had a TIA, contact your GP, local hospital or out-of-hours service as soon as possible.

Source: NHS Choices

Diesel Cars – ‘Massive Public Health Problem’

By Jonathan Owen & Jamie Merrill – The Independent on Sunday

The drive by the previous government to encourage millions of people to opt for diesel cars in a bid to lower carbon emissions has created a ‘massive problem for public health’ the shadow environment minister, has admitted.

Ten million Britons drive diesel cars, in a trend which was encouraged by tax breaks given by George Brown when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Last year more than half of all new cars were diesel. But while they emit less carbon dioxide (CO2) than their petrol counterparts, diesel cars emit more deadly pollutants – which have contributed to dangerous levels of air pollution causing the deaths of 29,000 people a year.

Air pollution from carCompared to petrol cars, diesels produce 22 times the amount of  particulate matter – a cause of cancer. And they emit up to four times more nitrogen oxides – including nitrogen dioxides, which damages lungs and blood vessels and can cause heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Barry Gardiner, shadow environment minister, said: “there’s no question that the decision we took was the wrong decision, but, and it’s a big but, at the time we didn’t have evidence that subsequently we did have, and we had cleaner diesel engines, which we thought meant that any potential problem was a lower grade problem than the problem we were trying to solve of CO2.”

Speaking in a Dispatches documentary that will be broadcast on Channel 4 tomorrow, he claims the drive for diesel was the “right move away from those vehicles who were pushing out CO2 emissions.”

Air quality is now so poor that it is stunting the lungs of young children in parts of London, according to preliminary findings of researchers at Queen Mary University Hospital and King’s College, London.

The documentary also reveals how car drivers are exposed to higher levels of pollutants than cyclists and pedestrians. Professor Frank Kelly, Chair of of the Committee for the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, said that diesel fumes could “penetrate” car cabins with “ease”. Alan Andrews, a lawyer with environmental campaign group Client Earth, said: “People still think diesel is the green fuel… The truth is diesel is a very heavily pollutant fuel.”

In London, councils are pushing back against diesel engines, with plans in Islington and Hackney for surcharges of up to £96 on parking permits for diesel vehicles.

The car industry has reacted with dismay to the “blanket” clampdown, with one source close to Ford, which just opened a £190m diesel engine plant at Dagenham, saying it was an unfair “demonisation of diesel”.

A government spokesperson said it had invested £2bn since 2010 on “ultra-low-emission vehicles, sustainable travel and green transport schemes”.

“Not many of us can get away from passively ‘smoking car fumes’ unfortunately. We still await a clean replacement for the internal combustion engine after well over a hundred years!!”