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21 May 2019

UH Bristol stroke team supports stroke awareness month

This month is Make May Purple for Stroke. Throughout the month, the Stroke Association are encouraging organisations and individuals to raise awareness of the dangers of strokes, and encouraging everyone to be aware of the signs to look out for.

Over the past few years, staff in the stroke service at UH Bristol have supported Make May Purple for Stroke, and this year is no exception. Alongside decorating ward A515 to match the purple theme, colleagues from across our stroke service have been running a raffle and tombola and organising purple themed bake sales, all to raise proceeds for the Stroke Association. There will also be pop up sessions for people to get their blood pressure tested on Tuesday's in the BRI main reception, and Thursdays in the Bristol Heart Institute. Everyone is welcome to come down and receive a free and quick blood pressure test.

Meet some the staff from our stroke service here.


Strokes are more common than a lot of people think. It is often assumed that only elderly people are at risk of strokes, but this is absolutely not the case. Strokes can strike anyone at any age, knowing what signs to look out for and making sure you act early if you notice anything is absolutely essential.

The stroke service at UH Bristol includes medical professionals from a wide range of specialties including doctors and consultants, nurses and advanced care practitioners, therapy staff in speech and language and occupational health, psychologists, physios and dietitians. Between 400 and 500 patients are admitted at UH Bristol for stroke symptoms each year.

Clare Holmes, consultant in the stroke service at UH Bristol said:
"If someone has had a stroke then it is essential that they get to hospital immediately as the longer it takes to start treatment, the more difficult it is to achieve a full recovery. Because of this urgency, it is vital that everyone can recognise the signs of stroke. A good way of doing this is by using the FAST system where you check the Face, the Arms, and the Speech for any noticeable changes. If there are, or if you have any concerns at all, then it's Time to call 999."

Speaking about the importance of people being aware of strokes, Pauline Baker, clinical nurse specialist at UH Bristol said:
"There are a lot of ways that we can treat strokes, and depending on how quickly you notice the signs, many people can make a full recovery.

However, with strokes, prevention is definitely better than cure. One of the major risk factors for stroke is high blood pressure. It's very important for people to make sure they take up opportunities to have their blood pressure checked and if it is high to make sure they see their GP and have it treated as soon as possible. Being proactive and taking care of our own health is the best way to act against strokes.

On top of this, small lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, reducing your alcohol intake, losing weight and increasing the amount of exercise you do can make a massive difference and protect you that much more against the dangers of strokes."

To find out more about the different roles in our stroke service from the staff themselves, visit the staff biography page.

For more information on strokes, and on activities for Make May Purple for Stroke, visit the Stroke Association website or feel free to speak to the team at one of their events throughout May.