Andrea Cail: Go purple and help stroke sufferers

Fundraising for Stroke Association last year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Fundraising for Stroke Association last year. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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MAY IS the month to get motivated, writes Andrea Cail

Stroke is a major health problem in Scotland. While the majority of strokes hit older people, surprisingly for many, around a quarter happen to those of working age.

A stroke is a brain attack. It’s an interruption to the blood supply to the brain. It usually happens in an instant but its effects can last a lifetime. Happily, the outcome from a stroke is better the younger you are, and with the right information, support and advice, many people return to a good quality of life.

Many strokes are preventable. Of the 15,000 strokes happening in Scotland every year, up to 80 per cent could be prevented by managing and treating risk factors. The usual suspects: obesity, lack of exercise, drinking too much and smoking increase your risk of stroke. High blood pressure is the biggest contributory factor in a stroke. Making lifestyle changes and keeping a check on your blood pressure will help reduce your risk.

And because a stroke can happen to anyone of any age, it’s also vital to be aware of the symptoms and to treat stroke as a medical emergency. Use the FAST test. Look out for Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems, and if any of these symptoms are present it’s Time to call 999.

The Kelpies in Falkirk, SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Marischal College in Aberdeen were lit up in in purple on Sunday to mark the start of Make May Purple, our charity’s annual month of activities dedicated to raising awareness about stroke. We are a charity that works towards preventing strokes and suporting those who have had strokes.

Those who support Make May Purple by using the colour to raise awareness are making a difference. We are delighted so many are showing support and want those of you who saw one of the many stunning buildings lit in purple on Sunday to be motivated to do something purple yourselves to help us raise awareness and conquer stroke.

• Andrea Cail, Director Scotland, Stroke Association, www.stroke.org.uk

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