Community pharmacists in Wales are warning patients that high blood pressure, irregular heart beat or atrial fibrillation can increase their risk of stroke, as part of a public health campaign launched on 10 February 2015.
Stroke claims around 3,600 lives a year in Wales and another 65,000 people are living with the effects of a stroke, according to the organisations behind the campaign — Public Health Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales and the Stroke Association.
Community pharmacists have been recruited to the campaign because they can advise patients how to reduce their stroke risk. They can also help patients with medicines adherence, review the medicines of patients discharged from hospital after having a heart attack, and offer smoking cessation and influenza vaccination services to people who have had a stroke, according to the campaigners.
The Stroke Association estimates that the number of strokes in Wales can be cut in half if patients have their blood pressure checked regularly, if they monitor their pulse and if they take immediate action if they experience any of the symptoms of stroke.
The Welsh campaign comes just four days after Public Health England (PHE) launched its annual Act FAST campaign, which highlights the three key symptoms of stroke — a face fallen on one side, the inability to raise arms above the head and slurred speech — as well as the need to dial 999.
Since PHE’s campaign began in 2009 it estimates that 38,600 people have been seen in hospital within three hours of having a stroke.