Most people are unaware of the long term damage a stroke can cause, including the effects that can have an impact on a person’s ability to work.
According to a survey commissioned by the Stroke Association, 18% underestimated the impact of a stroke, believing it ranked lower than its actual position as the fifth leading cause of disability and death combined in the UK.
Around two-thirds of people who survive a stroke find themselves living with a disability, which will require employers to consider reasonable adjustments at work. Half of stroke survivors find themselves relying on others for every day activities.
The survey of 2,005 people found that:
- 74% didn’t know that a stroke could affect hearing
- 67% didn’t know fatigue was a hidden side effect
- 67% didn’t know a stroke could cause depression and anxiety
- 66% didn’t know it could cause vision problems
- 32% didn’t realise that communication difficulties were common after a stroke.
Supporting stroke survivors
Sam Webb, a DPhil student at the University of Oxford who is developing a test that will assess a stroke survivor’s ability to perform complex thinking tasks, said: “Problems with memory and thinking are very common after a stroke and have a huge impact on a stroke survivor’s ability to do everyday tasks such as going to the supermarket or using money. It’s vital that these problems are detected early on.”
The Stroke Association has called for more investment in research. Chief executive Juliet Bouverie OBE, said: “Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK and while it changes lives in an instant, the brain can adapt and rebuild after stroke. That’s why research means everything to our nation’s 1.3 million stroke survivors and their families, because of the life-changing impact it could have on their future.
“Despite stroke still being the fourth biggest killer in the UK, research has helped to more than halve the rate of deaths from stroke over the last three decades. It’s absolutely crucial that we continue this progress, but we can’t do this without vital funding.”