Act FAST For Better Stroke Outcomes

Local Shoal Bay stroke survivor Freda is getting on with life. Photo by Marian Sampson.


In National Stroke Week, The Stroke Foundation tells us that strokes are debilitating and for those who have a stroke four in 10 will have repeat strokes.

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More than 56,000 strokes will be experienced by Australians this year, that is one stroke every nine minutes and globally one in four people will have a stroke.

Strokes are preventable, in fact 80% of strokes can be prevented; with research showing that eliminating high blood pressure can reduce incidence of stroke by 48%.

More than 475,000 Australians are living with the effects of stroke.

Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability in Australia.

What you might not know is that around 25 percent of stroke survivors are of working age, and that regional Australians are 19 percent more likely to experience a stroke.

Those living in regional areas are also more likely to die or be left with serious disability because of stroke.

When a stroke strikes, it attacks up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute.

F.A.S.T. (Face; Arms; Speech; and Time) is key to identifying a stroke and acting fast can also reduce the long term effects of the stroke.

Geriatrician and stroke physician Rohan Grimley spends his time improving quality care for stroke patients in acute and rehab care.

Mr Grimley told News Of The Area, “Managing blood pressure is the single most important thing – you don’t know what it is until you get it measured.

“For older people knowing if you have an irregular heart rate is also very important as this carries a high risk of stroke from the heart, which is very preventable with blood thinners which are stronger than aspirin.”

He said that strenuous physical activity is a great way to prevent stroke.

“Managing cholesterol levels, and having a good diet healthy with more fresh food including vegetables and fruit which assists with weight issues.

Prevention, knowing and managing risk factors can reduce the risk of stroke.

“Locally John Hunter has an excellent system that is a world leader in acute stroke treatment research and are leading the way in many things,” he said.

There is good news as Australians are lowering the number of strokes through better management of risk factors in the community.

However there is an increase in younger stroke cases.

“It is important to work to prevent stroke at any age, you can’t wait until you are old.

“The time to do it is when you are young,” said Grimley.

TIA (mini strokes) are warning signs preceding major strokes and Grimley stressed the importance of anyone having symptoms like a stroke, that gets better in a few minutes to see someone straight away don’t wait.

Remember if you think you or someone is having a stroke act F.A.S.T. and call 000.



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