The importance of lifestyle and health checks to maintain a healthy workforce

May 23 2021

Statistics show that one in six people in England will have a stroke in their lifetime. But is there anything we can do to reduce these numbers?

My Occ Health is committed to helping your business maintain a healthy workforce and the risk of suffering a stroke and its after-effects are something we can help address by carrying out regular lifestyle and health checks on your staff. 

In terms of a return to work after a stroke, it’s worth remembering that a stroke can manifest itself in many different ways, both physical and psychological. The adverse effect of having a stroke is a very individual experience that can cause obvious physical disability to less obvious problems with thinking speech and mental trauma. 

The Equality Act would need to be considered for almost all cases in respect of a return to the workplace. The Act says a person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Expert advice

An occupational physician, like those employed by My Occ Health, is uniquely qualified to assess these employees in an independent way to advise on the effects of the condition and its relationship to work and how reasonable adaptations may be used to keep that client in gainful employment. 

This is best done with letters and any supporting evidence from the stroke specialist which would be available to access from your GP surgery.

What are the main risk factors for a stroke?

Whilst anybody – including children – are at risk of having a stroke, it is deemed more likely that those with specific behavioural traits, such as smoking, or serious health issues will have a stroke at some point in their lives.

The main risk factors that increase your chances of having a stroke are; 

  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Diabetes.
  • Ethnicity. 
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking too much.
  • A family member having a stroke.

Whilst we’re unable to change some risk factors, such as old age and close relatives that have had a stroke, making changes in our lifestyle to remove or reduce these risk factors could help to reduce the risk of having a stroke.

So how can I avoid having a stroke?

Fortunately up to 80% of strokes can be prevented through making healthy lifestyle changes such as the introduction of a healthy, well-balanced diet and regular exercise.

 Whilst implementing these changes may be difficult at first the benefits of doing so make it worthwhile. Additionally introducing annual health checks into your yearly routine could help to identify the early warning signs of a stroke indicating the need to make some lifestyle changes in order to prevent a stroke  from happening later along the line.

What is the ‘Save research. Rebuild lives’ campaign?

The ‘Save research. Rebuild lives’ campaign has been introduced to 2021 by the Stroke Association with the purpose of the campaign to raise awareness of the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on stroke research.

According to the Stroke Association there has been a huge drop in the amount of charitable income that they typically receive each year meaning that their research budget has been reduced by half. Not only has this put new research at risk but the drop in income means that 1 in 5 researchers say they’ll need more funding.

Dr Rubina Ahmed, Research Director at the Stroke Association, has said  “People can rebuild their lives after stroke but there is still much we don’t know. Research is crucial to find out why people are struggling and new ways to overcome the challenges they face every day.” 

Identifying a stroke F-A-S-T

Whilst making these lifestyle changes can help to significantly reduce your chances of having a stroke, the risk doesn’t go away completely. Fortunately, if you act quickly the effects could be minimal.

Learning the FAST acronym should help you to remember the main symptoms of a stroke and encourage you to act quickly if you should see them in yourself or someone else.


Does one side of your face droop when you smile?


When you lift both arms , does one arm drift back down?


Is your speech slurred or does it sound odd?


If you see any of these warning signs in yourself or someone else, call 999 immediately.


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