Health chiefs bid to combat strokes in South Tyneside and Sunderland

Diane Gulliver, stroke specialist nurse at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust
Diane Gulliver, stroke specialist nurse at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust

Health experts are aiming to reduce the risk of people suffering a stroke.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust staff will be highlighting the importance of understanding the link between high blood pressure and stroke and of ‘knowing your numbers’ during Stroke Awareness Month.

High blood pressure puts a strain on all the blood vessels in your body and makes a blockage more likely to develop and move, or a blood vessel in the brain to weaken or bleed - both of which could cause a stroke.

The Trust’s stroke specialist nurses have arranged a series of ‘pressure station’ events at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital throughout the month.

With the support of the Stroke Association, they will be taking blood pressure readings, as well as raising awareness and providing information on the risks of high blood pressure.

Stroke specialist nurse Diane Gulliver said: “High blood pressure often has no symptoms but it is the biggest risk factor for stroke.

“The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure tested regularly.

“If it is identified then the good news is that lifestyle changes and medication can help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.

“We are hoping to reach people who, perhaps, wouldn’t usually get a blood pressure check, and educate people about this important health issue.”

The pressure stations will be held at South Tyneside District Hospital, Alexander’s restaurant, on Tuesday, May 7; Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 23 - all between 11am and 2pm.

There will also be sessions at Sunderland Royal Hospital, main concourse, Kayll Road entrance, on Wednesday, May 8; Friday, May 24; and Wednesday, May 29 - all from 1pm to 5pm.

Data from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) shows the quality of stroke services has risen significantly since all acute inpatient stroke care was centralised at Sunderland Royal Hospital in December 2016, with more patients now receiving timely care, delivered by specialists, in a dedicated acute stroke unit.