New figures released today by Public Health England show the average age for people having a stroke is falling, and highlight the need for the public to act immediately if they suspect someone is having a stroke.
The figures show that 38% of people suffering strokes are middle aged (40-69) – up from 33% a decade ago. The average age for a woman suffering a stroke has dropped from 75 to 73 and for men it has dropped from 71 to 68.
In 2016, 57,000 people suffered a first time stroke in England, and around 30,000 died from the condition, making it the third most common cause of premature death.
The figures have been released by Public Health England (PHE) to mark the start of its Act F.A.S.T. campaign which urges the public to call 999 if they notice one of the signs of a stroke:
• Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
• Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
• Speech – is their speech slurred?
• Time – time to call 999
Professor Julia Verne, Public Health England Director, said: “Stroke is still one of the leading causes of death in England. While it’s often associated with older people, the latest research shows that people are having strokes at a younger age. Everyone needs to be aware of the signs.
“Calling 999 as soon as you see even one of the symptoms develop – in the face, arms and speech – is essential. Speedy treatment will help prevent deaths and disability.”
Stroke leading cause of disability in UK
Stroke is the third most common cause of premature death in the UK, and a leading cause of disability. There are still around 32,000 stroke related deaths in England each year. And although deaths related to stroke have declined by 49% in the past 15 years, there is an urgent need for new and advanced treatments for preventing the disability they cause.
Our chief executive, Simon Gillespie, said: “Stroke can have a devastating impact on people and their families. It can paralyse a person, or even take away their voice, and some people never fully recover. Acting FAST if you think someone is having a stroke could significantly improve their chances of survival and recovery, so don’t delay seeking help.
“These figures should also put to an end the misconception that stroke only affects older people. Sadly a stroke can happen to anyone at any time and we need to continue to improve treatments. With the public’s support, we’re funding over £16 million pounds of research to better prevent and treat strokes.”
Find out more about our research into stroke