Stroke happens every five minutes in the UK. This means that you, a parent, a grandparent, a child, a sibling or relative could suddenly be struck down. Stroke doesn’t discriminate, and it destroys lives, leaving two thirds of stroke survivors unable to walk (or with another physical disability) and around a third of survivors unable to speak, read or write.
Far too many of us think stroke won’t happen to me or affect me, but the truth is that stroke is closer than we all think. It kills twice as many women as breast cancer and more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined.
People from South Asian and Black communities are more likely to have a stroke than White people and at a younger age. This may be due to risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes or lower socio-economic status. While the numbers of strokes are generally going down, the numbers in the Black and Asian communities still lag behind. In the last 20 years, the number of strokes in London almost halved (40%) for White people, but not for Black people.
It’s bad enough that people in our communities are more likely have a stroke, but they are also less likely to get the support that they need and are less happy with their care. We don’t know enough about the reasons for these differences but we know research can help us to find out and make changes.
To better understand why stroke is higher in Black and Asian communities and the type of specialist support they need, the Stroke Association needs to hear from them. We are the UK’s leading stroke charity – we helped develop the Act FAST (Face, Arms, Speech – it’s Time call 999) campaign to get more people to hospital quicker. Right now we’re working with stroke survivors and their carers, as well as people who work with stroke survivors and other organisations to identify what matters most to people affected by stroke and will make the biggest difference to their lives.
This is your chance to tell us about your issues and concerns around stroke that affect you and your loved ones. If you have had a stroke, or you or someone you know supports a family members who has had a stroke, we need to hear from you.
Far too many times I’ve heard why aren’t our communities’ needs being met, why aren’t we being asked for our opinions. So let’s stop having conversations in our front rooms between ourselves and let’s make sure our voices are heard. If there’s something that you want stroke research to focus on, you have to take part, don’t leave it to somebody else.
Please take part and have your say at www.stroke.org.uk/jla by the 31 August.