Strokes can happen to anyone, not just the elderly

Jamie Arrowsmith – Tuesday 28th October 2019 – 10am.

“Had it been your nan suffering those symptoms, I’d have instantly known she was having a stroke.”

That is what Emergency Operations Centre Call Assessor, Amy Keogh was told by a family member during her recovery from a stroke she suffered in 2016 when aged just 19-years-old.

Now, to mark today’s World Stroke Day, Amy hopes that her story, and those words in particular, will ensure people realise that strokes can happen to anyone, at any age, not just in the elderly.

Amy suffered headaches, sickness, vision loss and lost the use of her right leg, which ultimately led to her falling and ending up in hospital, where she was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke.

“The headache was the worst headache I’ve ever had and I couldn’t understand why I was tapping the wrong number on my phone when trying to enter my passcode.

“I had no idea I had lost use of my right leg until I tried to get to the toilet and I ended up falling.

“There is a common belief amongst people that strokes don’t happen to young people, but I am proof that they do. I had no idea that you could be affected so young by a stroke, you only ever hear of it in elderly people.  That is why I am desperate to get the message out there and make people aware that unfortunately, they can happen to anyone.”

Amy added that if anyone is unsure about their symptoms, they should seek reassurance as soon as possible. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said. “I would urge anyone, old or young, to get some advice, get seen as soon as possible in order to hopefully get the worst-case scenario of it actually being a stroke, ruled out.”

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This can be caused by a clot in a blood vessel or bleeding in, or around, the brain.

WMAS Consultant Paramedic, Matt Ward, said: “There are treatments that can reduce the disability caused by stroke but these can only be given in the first few hours.

“Amy’s story is an example of how things can be missed, but because of the need to treat rapidly, it is essential to spot the signs of a stroke as quickly as possible. The FAST test is a well-known way of checking symptoms, but there are less obvious symptoms too such as sudden or partial loss of vision, and sudden changes in balance.”


Notes to Editors:

Amy Keogh is available for interview today (Tuesday). To arrange, please contact the Press Office by calling 01384 246496.

Picture caption: The MRI scan of Amy’s brain during her stroke. The black dot at the bottom (above PIL) indicates the clot that then lead to three bleeds in the brain. Two of which are clear to see as black circles on the left side and the third is a smaller one on the right side (in line with the A in LAS on the side).

In the UK there are around 120,000 stroke cases a year. Over 1.2m people in the UK live with the effects of stroke, making it the biggest single cause of disability. West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) deals with over 20,000 suspected stroke cases a year.

F – facial drooping

A – arm weakness

S – speech disturbance (slurring or inappropriate words and an inability to speak are all common signs)

T – time, if you find any of these signs it’s time to call 999

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