‘Public More Concerned With Their Wealth Than Health’

The results of a new survey issued today by The Stroke Association shows that people are more concerned for their wealth than the health of their brain.

Conducted by GfK NOP, the survey found that the prospect of losing a bank card would prompt an immediate reaction from most respondents (88%) whereas when asked what someone should do  if they experienced the symptoms of a stroke – which causes immediate brain damage – one third of people would wait up to 24 hours or more before taking action.  

It was the 45 – 54 year olds that were most aware of what they should do in the event of a stroke with the 16-24’s and 65+ age groups least likely to take immediate action. Yet 25% of all strokes will happen to those under 65.

Women were more aware of the risk of the symptoms of stroke – 69% of women said call 999 immediately on  experiencing the symptoms of stroke – in comparison to just 59% of men. However 87% of women and 89% of men would get in touch with their bank straight away if they lost their bank card.

The charity believes that this is because the general public are still not aware of the devastating impact of stroke – the UK’s third biggest killer. A stroke is a brain attack which, tragically, can strike without warning and leave sufferers paralysed, blind or unable to speak. Only 33% of the public realised that a stroke causes immediate brain damage.

This lack of awareness was further underpinned recently in a survey that showed that people believed they were more at risk of being mugged than having a stroke. Yet official figures show that whilst a mugging occurs up to every 13 minutes, someone has a stroke every five minutes.

Joe Korner, Director of Communications at The Stroke Association comments: These results highlight how stroke continues to be misunderstood by the public and is way down on their agenda.  People simply do not realise the devastation that a stroke can cause or that it can be prevented. To tackle this, The Stroke Association has launched an advertising campaign – Leading the fight against brain attacks – to highlight this life-changing condition and the need for increased funding into stroke research”.

When asked how much funding went into stroke research, respondents were also wildly off the mark. Latest figures show that annual charity research funding into stroke was just £2.6 million, yet just under half of people questioned believed funding to be more than 10 million whilst a quarter did not have any idea. 11% of men thought that funding exceeded £50 million.

Professor Joanna Wardlaw is a leading stroke researcher: “Many of the really important advances in stroke care that are now in clinical practice all over the world, have come from doctors, nurses, other therapists and scientists in the UK.  

“Stroke is an underfunded area but this research is vital for improving outcomes for stroke survivors. Donating funds for stroke research and encouraging hospitals and patients to participate in stroke trials is crucial for the future of stroke care – not only in the UK but across the world.”

Joe Korner concludes; “The Stroke Association leads the fight against brain attacks by supporting stroke survivors and funding vital research. This research has saved lives. But we need your help to do much more.”