Shocking lack of stroke awareness

Stroke rebuilding lives

A survey by the Stroke Association has revealed many people don't know what a stroke is, and families often don't know how to help loved ones

21st May 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Millions of adults are unaware that a stroke occurs in the brain.

Research by the Stroke Association has revealed a wide spread lack of knowledge around the UK’s leading cause of disability.

The study showed over a quarter (27%) of the population don’t know that a stroke occurs in the brain – despite almost half of Britons knowing someone who has had a stroke.

Nine in 10 respondents (95%) agreed that family and friends play an essential role in the recovery process from a stroke, while nearly half (46%) admitted wanting to do more to help the stroke survivor that they knew but lacked the knowledge to do so.

The charity published its findings to mark the launch of its newest campaign, Rebuilding Lives, which aims to showcase the challenges faced by stroke survivors and those who support them with their recoveries.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: “A stroke happens in the brain, the control centre for who we are and what we can do. The impact varies depending on which part of the brain is affected.

“It could be anything from wiping out your speech and physical abilities, to affecting your emotions and personality. So, it’s a real challenge for everyone as they come to grips with this sudden and life changing event. These findings highlight the complexity of stroke and raises the desperate need amongst people to understand the impact of stroke in order to better support their loved ones.

“There are over 1.2 million stroke survivors living in the UK of which 124,000 are from Scotland. Many of those are reliant on their friends and family, from help with daily living to understanding their emotional and mental health needs.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We’re urging those people who know someone who has had a stroke, to help turn this around and fill this knowledge gap. Reach out to the Stroke Association for help, so that together we can support stroke survivors to rebuild their lives.”

My family didn’t know how to help me

Tom Middlemass from Edinburgh had a stroke at the age of 52. He was at work at the time when it happened. All he remembers is not being able to talk or get up.

He had lost the ability to communicate and wasn’t able to walk. When the emergency services arrived, he was taken straight to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he remained in hospital for several days. Tom couldn’t talk for three days and he had to learn to walk again.

Tom and his wife Joanne didn’t know anything about stroke including the fact it can affect your ability to communicate. So Joanne had to find ways to help him whilst struggling to grasp the enormity of it all herself. She wrote things down, she tried to encourage Tom to talk, but it was hard to stop herself from finishing sentences for him.

Tom said: “Coming home made me realise just how much my life had completely changed. Everything was different: physically, emotionally and financially. I found myself going into deep depression. I called it my ‘black, evil dog’. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. My life felt like a tunnel that I couldn’t escape from. There was no light at the other end. The whole family were aware of it, but didn’t really know what to do and how to help me.”