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Ad makes public aware of stroke

Ministers have launched a new campaign aimed at helping the public spot signs of a stroke, it has been announced.

The adverts, which will feature on TV, radio, online and in print, highlight the warning signs and urge people to call 999 if they suspect that somebody is having an attack.

They show stroke "spreading like fire in the brain" and urge people to use the "FAST" test to gauge symptoms, including facial weakness, inability to raise both arms and whether somebody can speak or understand what is being said.

Patients who have their stroke confirmed by a scan quickly and are given access to clot-busting drugs in the form of thrombolysis have a higher chance of survival, according to studies.

It is also known that acting quickly on important warning signs, like transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) - sometimes called "minor strokes" - saves lives and reduces long-term disability.

However, only 42% of patients currently receive a brain scan within 24 hours to confirm their diagnosis and only 62% are treated on a dedicated stroke unit.

The Royal College of Physicians has estimated that thousands of lives could be saved if patients were admitted straight to stroke units, while 4,500 people could escape disability if they received thrombolysis.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Royal College of Physicians

We asked what you think about the new campaign. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Brilliant, but unfortunately the resources needed to back this campaign aren't available in this area!" - Sue Hayward-Ault, Lincolnshire

"Excellent. We need more like this. Clear message, good visual, clear and simple instructions." - Kevin Saunders, South Wales