Ireland’s fastest woman is urging people to call an ambulance immediately if they have a stroke.
International sprinter Phil Healy is lending his voice to an Irish Heart Foundation campaign, as it appears nearly half of the people would not.
An Ipsos MRBI survey, commissioned by the Irish Heart Foundation and the government, shows that only 55% would immediately dial 999 or 112.
A new Act FAST campaign (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) warns stroke patients how crucial early hospital treatment is to limit long-term damage.
Chris Macey, advocacy manager for the Irish Heart Foundation, said the minutes were important.
“On average, 21 people will have a stroke every day, but 10 of them don’t know they need to get to the hospital as quickly as possible,” he said.
“A stroke kills two million brain cells every minute – and every 60 seconds saved between a stroke and effective treatment saves a healthy week of life for a patient. “
Survey of just over 1,000 people aged 15 and over shows that calling an ambulance is the first thing 55% of people would do in a stroke, with women more likely than men to do.
The registry shows a worrying trend with 59% of people going to the hospital within four hours, compared to previous results in 2015, with 56% getting there within three hours.
Another 26 percent would tell a family member or friend, while 5 percent would contact their GP as their first port of call.
And 2% of those surveyed would wait and see, try to relax, or ignore symptoms, with men more likely to have given this answer.
Mr Macey said that although stroke treatments have improved dramatically, they still depend on getting people to hospital as soon as possible.
“One of these treatments must be given within four and a half hours of the stroke, but the HSE’s most recent stroke registry shows that about four in ten stroke victims do not surrender. to the hospital quickly enough to receive it, ”he said.
“The registry shows a worrying trend, with 59% of people going to hospital within four hours, compared to previous results in 2015, 56% got there within three hours.”
Ms Healy of Cork, holder of the Irish 100m and 200m sprint records, is an Act FAST campaign ambassador.
“Stroke is one of the few conditions where your own actions and the speed of your response can determine your outcome,” she said.
“As a runner speed is essential for me and every millisecond makes a difference.
“I was also trained in nursing, so I am all too aware of the need to act quickly in the event of a stroke, in order to have the best chance of recovery. “
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly praised the launch of the campaign.
“Stroke doesn’t stop during a pandemic and it’s more important than ever that if you or someone you know has a stroke, you immediately call 112 or 999,” he said. declared.
“The sooner you get to the hospital, the better your recovery will be. Our acute care hospitals in Ireland are open and operate safely. “
The Ipsos MRBI survey also found that a majority of people cite slurred speech as one of the main warning signs of a stroke, followed by facial weakness, overall FAST message, and weakness. on one side of the body.
A total of 44 percent consider smoking the number one risk factor for stroke, with excess weight, lack of exercise and poor diet being the other main risks.
The Irish Heart Foundation’s Act FAST campaign begins Monday.
For more details see www.irishheart.ie.