May is Stroke Awareness Month but Different Strokes have recently launched a new awareness campaign to make every day Stroke Awareness Day!
Different Strokes is a national charity that provides practical support to the 1 in 4 stroke survivors of working age and younger to empower them to get their lives back on track. Many have young families to support, a promising career, and bills to pay. We provide practical information packs, a helpline, website, social media and a national network of exercise and support groups.
Here’s how you can help: our message Stop Salt Stop Stroke is a simple lifestyle change that saves lives and prevents stroke.
- Every year in the UK there are over 150,000 strokes
- High blood pressure (consistently 130/80 or higher) is responsible for about 50% of all strokes.
- Salt makes your body retain water which raises your blood pressure.
- Take charge of your diet – reduce your salt intake to reduce your blood pressure.
Our bodies need some salt, but adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day (about one teaspoon) and children even less. However, about 75% of the salt we eat is already hidden in the food we buy (bread, cereals, ready meals). Encouraging people to read food labels and make food swaps for low salt options is an easy way to reduce daily intake. Cooking from scratch and tasting your food before adding salt can help too.
Fact: For every 1g of salt we cut from our average daily meal, there would be 6000 fewer deaths from stroke and heart attacks in the UK each year.
Professor Pankaj Sharma, Different Strokes Medical Adviser: “Salt increases blood pressure which is the biggest cause of stroke. Eliminating salt from your cooking could substantially reduce your chances of stroke. You will not find a simpler and easier method of reducing your chances of stroke.”
One in 4 strokes happen to people of working age and younger. Here are case studies of members who are available for TV appearances, radio interviews and newspaper or magazine stories:
Megan Giglia, Different Strokes Patron and Paracyclist for Team GB, stroke at 27: “As a Para-Athlete, a balanced diet and lifestyle is a key factor to success and also a vital way in helping reduce the chances of further strokes and preventing other possible health concerns – Stop Salt Stop Stroke is a simple message with one goal, give it a go!”
Megan made her debut at the Para Track Worlds for Team GB in March and came 4th overall in her category for both the 500m sprint and 3km pursuit. She is presently ranked 2nd in the world for 2014/15 and is heading out to Italy in June for the World Cup with Team GB.
Oliver Lilburn, university student, stroke at 18: “My stroke came out of the blue when I was getting ready to go to university. Although I was fit and healthy before my stroke, I now make even more of an effort to be active and eat well. This is why I believe the Different Strokes ‘Stop Salt Stop Stroke’ campaign is so important. Reducing your salt intake is easy and can lower the risk of stroke. Remember ‘Stop Salt Stop Stroke’!”
Martin Warrillow, ex-journalist, stroke at 49: “Like too many people, I thought only ‘old’ folk get strokes; now I know that by reducing my stress levels and changing my diet, I could have avoided two of the key risk factors for high blood pressure and stroke. I now know the dangers of eating too much salt and am aware there is already salt in so many of the things we buy. To keep my blood pressure down and lower the risk of another stroke, I have to really watch out for these things. Whatever your age, so should you.”
Imogen Cauthery, strokes aged 9 and 25: “Since November 2013 I have found that doing lots of exercise and being much more aware of what I eat has improved my moods, reduced seizures and I have lost a lot of weight. My diet before this included high amounts of processed food including lots of salt. Now I am on a vegan diet, cooking for myself and my blood pressure and general wellbeing is much improved.”
If you are interested in speaking to our Medical Adviser or to one of our case studies, please contact Eileen Gambrell at Different Strokes on 01908 317618 or contact us by email. Alternatively download our campaign flyer here to help us spread the word or visit our website www.differentstrokes.co.uk for more information.
Stop Salk Stop Stroke.