IN 2017, one Australian will have a stroke every 10 minutes.
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There are now more than 440,000 people living with the effects of stroke, yet more than 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
This was the strong message Myall U3A members heard at a Stroke Awareness and Prevention session at the Hawks Nest Old Library.
Guest speakers were David Ransom from Stroke Foundation and Raymond O’Brien of Tea Gardens Ambulance Service.
David is a retired journalist who has worked with the ABC and SBS.
Assisted by his wife, Rosemarie, a trained nurse, he is a volunteer speaker for the Stroke Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that delivers education programmes on stroke awareness and prevention.
In the last three years, David has had two mini strokes or TIA (transient ischaemic attack) caused by a blood clot in the brain.
“Luckily,” he said, “I suffer no serious debilitation.”
Both David and Raymond strongly emphasise the importance of recognising the signs of stroke, memorable in the acronym F.A.S.T.:
Face: numbness or paralysis in the face;
Arms: drop or cannot be raised;
Speech: is slurred or lost;
Think: fast, act fast, call 000 immediately.
Other signs are difficulty speaking or understanding, dizziness, loss of balance, blurring or loss of vision, severe and abrupt onset of headache and difficulty swallowing.
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor of strokes.
A normal blood pressure is 120/80 and a high blood pressure is 140/90.
As he has done since his stroke, David recommends that we monitor our blood pressure and reduce the risk by changing our diet and lifestyle by regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
For more information on strokes and the Stroke Foundation, visit their website stroke.foundation.org.au.