This is the true cost of ‘stroke knowledge gaps’

A Sheffield stroke-survivor has joined a new campaign, by The Stroke Association, to highlight a lack of knowledge around the UK’s leading cause of disability.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 9:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 12:42 pm
Stroke knowledge gaps are leading to a lack of support for stroke survivors

Recent data collated by the charity found that over 14 million UK adults don’t know that a stroke occurs in the brain. While nearly half of UK adults know someone who has had a stroke, most admit to a lack of awareness and understanding needed to support stroke survivors in their recovery.

Donna Mackenzie-Smyth, aged 53, has thrown her backing behind the Rebuilding Lives campaign, sharing her personal experience to raise awareness of the need for stroke-survivors to feel supported by those around them.

Donna said: “After my stroke I felt like I lost my independence and was so much more reliant on others. I needed help washing and dressing and I could no longer do the things I used to with the grandchildren.

“I feel that there is a definite lack of understanding for younger stroke survivors. For me when my stroke happened I was only 50. The reaction from friends and people I would meet socially was, ‘well you’re far too young to have a stroke,’ yet this obviously wasn’t so. I use this as an opportunity to create awareness of stroke and never to assume that it’s always the elderly who are at risk. I’m now aware that I had suffered mini-strokes in the past, but due to thinking I was too young to have one I did not seek medical advice.”

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Now Donna regularly attends the Stroke Association’s peer support groups, and shares her story to raise awareness of the impact of stroke.

The data also showed than one in 10 respondents admitted to seeing the survivor less after the latter had a stroke, and one in six admitted they perceived the person differently.