Stroke Awareness Month, run by the National Stroke Association, is all about wearing purple to raise awareness of strokes and the impact they have.
A stroke is an attack on the brain which happens when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing death of that part of the brain. The effects of a stroke vary depending on which part of the brain is affected and how severe the stroke is.
If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Recognising the signs of a stroke
The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly.
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:
Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakened or numbness in one arm.
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
Time – its time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
It’s important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for a person who is in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure.
More information can be found at
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel Cancer is the second biggest UK’s killer cancer but that doesn’t need to be the case as it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed at an early stage.
Symptoms can include:
There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements (poo). Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage. It may also be caused by bowel cancer. Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.
Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit, especially if you also have bleeding from your back passage. You may have looser poo and you may need to poo more often than normal. Or you may feel as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough or you might not feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.
This is less common than some of the other symptoms. Speak to your GP if you have lost weight and you don’t know why. You may not feel like eating if you feel sick, bloated or if you just don’t feel hungry.
Bowel cancer may lead to a lack of iron in the body, which can cause anaemia (lack of red blood cells). If you have anaemia, you are likely to feel very tired and your skin may look pale.
You may have pain or a lump in your stomach area (abdomen) or back passage. See your GP if these symptoms don’t go away or if they’re affecting how you sleep or eat.
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer, there are many other health problems that can cause similar symptoms such as piles, constipation, anal fissures or IBS.
If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them – book an appointment with your GP.
For more information and advice visit Bowel Cancer UK
A bit of stress is normal and can help push you to do something new or challenging, but too much stress can take its toll.
Lots of things in life can cause stress such as work, relationships, money and sometimes these kinds of stresses can affect how you feel, think and behave. It can have an effect on your sleep, your mood and even your general health.
This weeks aim is to encourage us all to take stock of how we feel and make changes to our lifestyle to help reduce stress levels. For many, self-help will vastly reduce our stresses, but others may need professional help.
Below are several self-help tips you can try to combat stress:
Get Active – Being physically active releases feelgood hormones called endorphins which can help you sleep and feel better.
Talk – Spend some time with friends and family and relax. You might even want to tell them how you’re feeling, and they may offer some practical advice.
Take Control – Try and find a solution to the problem.
Challenge Yourself – Set yourself a new challenge or goal such as walking 10,000 steps a day or learning something new.
Take some time for yourself – Put some time aside to do the things that make you feel good, whether its going for a walk or simply having a relaxing bath.
Write it down – Try writing down your worries. This process can help clear your mind and ease your tension.
If self-help isn’t working for you and you find that stress is interfering with your daily life, then talk to your GP.
Please be aware that GP Practices close for the Easter Bank Holidays which are on Friday 2nd April (Good Friday) and Monday 5th April (Bank Holiday Monday).
If you need medical advice during this period you can:
Visit your pharmacy – Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. Visit nhs.uk to find a pharmacy open near you.
Use NHS 111 – If you need urgent medical advice but your condition is not life threatening. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you can access either online or by calling 111 from your landline or mobile (all calls are free).
Dial 999 – for a genuine medical emergency including; loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent and/or severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped dial 999.
NHS Blood and Transplant are leading an urgent programme to enable a UK trial that could produce vital treatment for Covid-19 and help save more lives.
This treatment requires plasma donations from patients who have had COVID-19 and are now recovering. NHS Blood and Transplant need to collect high titre plasma from willing donors to see if this might benefit when used early on in a patient’s illness, before hospitalisation and are in particular need of recovering male patients aged 18 – 65 years to take part.
To take part in this vital programme, you can call: 0300 123 2323 or visit https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-donors/who-can-donate-plasma/.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and women in the Midlands are being encouraged to attend for their regular breast screening appointment if they are contacted by screening services.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had a major impact on the NHS, including on breast screening services and, as a result, women may have waited longer than they usually do to be invited for regular screening. Now that services are getting up and running again, they can feel reassured by the safety measures that have been put in place.
Breast screening aims to find cancers early using an x-ray test called a mammogram. This can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. To protect everyone against the possible spread of Covid-19, screening providers will ensure that social distancing can be observed, and additional infection control procedures have been introduced. This includes the wearing of personal protective equipment by staff such as face masks and gloves.
Enhanced infection control measures mean that appointments may be held at a clinic different to the usual venue and these may take longer than usual. Women are also being asked to wear a face covering at their appointment, unless there is a reason that they cannot do so.
Dr Ash Banerjee, Screening and Immunisations Lead for NHS England and Improvement in the Midlands says:
“Measures are in place to ensure that essential, routine screening can be delivered safely. About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, so it’s important to attend for routine screening when this is offered.
“As long as you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, breast screening should take place as normal.
“Please attend for your screening appointment if you are contacted by a breast screening provider and informed that you are due for your routine screen.”
About routine breast screening:
After screening, about 1 in 25 women will be called back for further assessment. Being called back does not mean that someone has cancer. The first mammogram may have been unclear. About 1 in 4 women who are called back for further assessment are diagnosed with breast cancer.
As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every 3 years. Women may be eligible for breast screening before the age of 50 if they have a very high risk of developing breast cancer.
Anyone worried about breast cancer symptoms should speak to their GP as soon as possible.
As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.
These changes should get better over time, some may take longer than others, but there are things you can do to help.
Your COVID Recovery helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. Find out more information at www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk
Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet.
The NHS App is available now on iOS and Android. To use it you must be aged 13 and over and registered with a GP surgery in England.
Use the NHS App to:
If your GP surgery or hospital offers other services in the NHS App, you may be able to:
After you download the app, you will need to set up an NHS login and prove who you are. The app then securely connects to information from your GP surgery.
If your device supports fingerprint detection or facial recognition, you can use it to log in to the NHS App each time, instead of using a password and security code.
If you have any issues using or downloading the app, check the NHS App help and support page.