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Guest blog from Ana Palazon, Director of the Stroke Association in Wales
Every year in Wales more than 7,000 people will have a stroke, while around 65,000 people are living with the long-term effects of this devastating condition.
Stroke is Wales’s and the UK’s fourth biggest killer. It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined and it’s not just older people who are affected – stroke can strike at any age. In fact, the number of strokes among working age people is increasing.
Fortunately, more people now survive stroke, but this brings its own significant challenges in terms of rehabilitation and long-term care; stroke is the largest cause of complex disability, and half of all stroke survivors live with an impairment. The effects on survivors and their families are huge.
At the Stroke Association, we believe in life after stroke – that, with the right support and rehabilitation, stroke survivors can continue to enjoy fulfilling and active lives.
Life after stroke is at the heart of Make May Purple, Stroke Association's annual stroke awareness month. It’s our way of celebrating the achievements of stroke survivors and for friends, families and communities to show support for their loved ones who have been affected by stroke.
Whichever way people choose to get involved, Make May Purple is also an invaluable way to raise awareness of the risk factors, symptoms, and impacts of stroke in an accessible and informal way, as well as raising essential funds for us to continue our work.
In addition to the services commissioned from us by health boards and some local authorities, we provide a wide range of support to prevent stroke and to help people make the best possible recovery from stroke. These include peer support and campaigning stroke clubs and groups across Wales that offer stroke survivors and carers places where they can socialise, share experiences and support each other and, importantly, take part in civic society.
Our Stroke Information Service (SIS) provides a helpline that anyone can contact for information, emotional support and a listening ear, while our Life After Stroke Grants offer practical help for people who are struggling with the financial impact of stroke. We also campaign for greater investment in prevention, treatment, and long term support and rehabilitation for stroke survivors.
This is backed up by our programme of Know Your Blood Pressure events, which highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure to lower the risk of stroke. This work is particularly significant in areas of Wales that have marked health inequalities. By supporting people to manage their health better, we can help to reduce the number of preventable strokes in Wales.
The BMA can be an invaluable partner in helping the Stroke Association promote awareness of Make May Purple amongst the Medical Community.
To find out more about the work of the Stroke Association, please visit www.stroke.org.uk
I’ve just had a stroke. I live in North Wales. Would you be interested in raising awareness at an event I’d like propose.
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