Stroke awareness has increased9th November 2009
A stroke symptom awareness campaign launched in February by the Department of Health has prompted a rise by more than half in the number of calls to emergency services.
Statistics showed there was a 55% rise in the number of calls about possible stroke symptoms made to ambulance trusts in 2008/09.
Stroke is the cause of death for 9% of males and 13% of females in the UK. 150,000 people in the UK suffer from a stroke every year and a quarter occur in people aged under 65.
The FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) campaign was created by doctors to help people recognise key stroke symptoms and allow emergency staff to identify problems quickly.
Fast emergency treatment can vastly increase a person's chance of surviving a stroke and limit brain damage.
As part of the campaign, advertisements were placed in newspapers and shown on television, whilst leaflets and posters were put up in GP surgeries.
The campaign is part of the government's £100 million stroke strategy, which was published in 2007.
Health minister Ann Keen said: "Stroke is still one of the biggest causes of death and disability in England. It's important that everyone recognises the signs and realises the importance of dialling 999 as quickly as possible."
"The faster treatment begins the more we can limit damage caused to the brain. The Act FAST campaign has clearly had a big impact already and I hope more people will now see it and learn when to act fast and save lives."
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