We want to see purple swimsuits in the pool, purple headbands on the squash court, purple laces in the trainers, and exercise classes splashed with the colour this month.
Stroke strikes every five minutes and the UK Stroke Association use the month of May (and their campaign Make May Purple) to raise funds for research and awareness campaigns and the vital work they do helping people recover after a stroke. Helping them help us all couldn't be easier. All you have to do is wear purple and find a way to raise funds (be it a bake sale or a ‘dress down and in purple day’ at work) and then spread the word about what you're doing and about the amazing work of the Stroke Association. Share your photos with us using the hashtag #MakeMay Purple.
Many people think strokes only happen to older people, but one in four strokes strike people of working age. There are things you can do right now to prevent a stroke, and loads of help out there to support you and reduce your risk. Did you know that?
- Smoking doubles your risk of dying from a stroke and the minute you quit your risk of a stroke starts to go down. Find your local stop-smoking services by calling 0300 123 1044 (in England) and 0800 085 2219 (in Wales). Drinking more alcohol than you should raises your risk, too. It's best to drink no more than 14 units a week, and to spread them over the week.
- Being overweight makes you over 20 per cent more likely to have a stroke and it also impacts on your blood pressure. Ask one of our team to check your BMI (Body Mass Index) to see whether you are the right weight for your height. We can refer you to your GP if you need additional support with this, and they can refer you back to us post-check so we can support your risk-prevention exercise plan.
- Rethink your diet for the summer, cutting down on salt, fat and sugar and boosting your fibre intake and ensuring a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fruit and vegetables (at least five a day remember).
- Keep active. It is a key part of stroke prevention. Our team here at Halo can help you create an activity plan to suit your age and ability. And the more active you are, the better you'll feel and the easier all the above advice.
- Get your blood pressure checked. It can lead to clots forming and yet high blood pressure has no symptoms. To find a local Stroke Association Know Your Blood Pressure event for a free and easy pressure check visit stroke.org.uk/kybp. Or ask your local doctor’s surgery if they can book you in for a check.
This is general advice only. If you feel you may be at risk ask your doctor for advice. And remember people aged 40 and up can have the NHS Health Check which looks for early signs of health problems including stroke risk.