A PENSIONER who survived a stroke is backing fresh moves to cut the hundreds of deaths in the region which result from strokes each year.

More than 4,900 people die from strokes in the North-East and Yorkshire on an annual basis and the F.A.S.T. campaign aims to reduce that number by urging the public to call 999 if they notice one of the signs of a stroke in themselves or in others.

Teesside pensioner Ken Sidgwick was saved by his carer after she suspected he was having a stroke.

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The 74-year-old recalled waking up feeling very weak and finding it difficult to push himself out of bed.

He said: “My carer visited me and noticed that my face was drooping at the mouth. She suspected it was a stroke straight away and dialled 999.

“Thankfully, I have been able to make a good recovery and now visit Teesside Stroke Club to meet and socialise with other stroke survivors.

“My advice is not to hesitate. If you are concerned someone is having a stroke, then call 999 straight away.”

The F.A.S.T. campaign, being co-ordinated by Public Health England (PHE), uses the following mnemonic to advise the public what to look out for and what to do

:: 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.

Figures show that there are 64,500 people registered with GPs in the North-East who have had a stroke.

About 30 per cent of those will experience another stroke. An untreated stroke, caused by the blood supply to the brain being cut off, can lead to speech being slurred or paralysis of the body, or in worst case scenarios death.

While the majority of strokes happen to those over 70, a larger proportion of strokes are occurring in middle age adult, aged 40 to 69.

Sue Gordon, deputy director of healthcare at PHE North East, aid:

“Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and the faster someone experiencing a stroke gets emergency treatment, the more chance they have of surviving and avoiding serious disability. Strokes are often associated with older people, however 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 is essential.”

Dr Anand Dixit, consultant stroke physician for Newcastle Hospitals trust, added: “Although significant advances have been made in treating patients with stroke, most of these treatments are time dependent and time is of the essence when it comes to treating stroke.”