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A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke the less damage to the brain is likely to happen.



Stroke is the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK and second in the world.


1 in 4 (26%) of strokes in the UK occur in people under 65 years old.


Age is the single most important risk factor for stroke.


The risk of having a stroke doubles every decade after the age of 55.


By the age of 75, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men will have a stroke.



 High blood pressure is the contributing factor to 54% of strokes (England, Wales & Northern Ireland)


There are over 9.2 million people in the UK registered as hypertensive (having high blood pressure).


It is estimated there could be up to another 6.8 million people in the UK with undiagnosed high blood pressure.


120/80 is generally accepted as normal and 140/90 as high. However, blood pressure naturally increases with age.



Diabetes (type 1 and type 2) almost doubles your risk of stroke and is a contributing factor to 20% of strokes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland


There are over 3.4 million people registered as diabetic in the UK – about 5% of the population


It is estimated there are another 850,000 people that have undiagnosed diabetes

Atrial fibrillation is a contributing factor to 20% of strokes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is when the heartbeat is irregularly irregular, i.e. your heart beats to no obvious pattern or rhythm. This can lead to small pools of blood left in the chamber of the heart that can develop into a clot over time that can then be carried in the blood vessels to the brain and cause harm.


There are over one million people with AF in the UK and the risk of stroke increases five-fold for this group of people


Men have a 1.5 times greater risk of developing AF than women.


However, AF-related strokes in women are more devastating (i.e. greater mortality) than AF-related strokes in men – the reason for this is not currently known.


The incidence of AF increases with age – you are approximately twice as likely to have AF for every decade after 55.


Some other Risk factors include


High Cholesterol


Lifestyle e.g.: Smoking and excessive Alcohol, Obesity and Lack of Physical Activity


Symptoms of a stroke can be remembered by the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.


If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance


As part of Unity’s commitment to promoting better health within the workforce, we will carry out Blood Pressure checks on all employees seen at client’s sites and at Unity’s Offices for the month of May. All employees will be provided with an information leaflet on the signs of strokes & signposted to where they can find out more information. Employees found to have a raised blood pressure will be referred to their General Practitioner for further assessment.