In Australia, strokes are the third most common cause of death and the leading cause of disability. Research has shown there will be more than 56,000 strokes experienced in Australia every year.
“A stroke is the way we describe the blood supply to the brain being suddenly cut off,” says Professor Bruce Campbell from the Stroke Foundation.
A stroke can happen in two different ways:
Professor Campbell says, “Brain cells can quickly die without the oxygen that the blood supplies.”
This is why it’s very important to get to hospital immediately if you think you’re having a stroke.
Recognising the signs of a stroke is easy with the F.A.S.T. checklist.
Use the F.A.S.T. checklist to ask these simple questions:
Other symptoms or signs of a stroke may include:
It’s important to remember acting F.A.S.T is crucial to saving lives; a stroke is always a medical emergency.
“When a stroke happens, up to 1.9 million brain cells die every minute. Treatment of a stroke is time critical. The earlier the treatment is delivered, the better the outcome for stroke patients,” says Professor Campbell.
The brain controls the way we think, move, speak and eat. Unfortunately, a stroke can leave people with a wide range of physical and cognitive changes and disabilities.
Professor Campbell says, “Some of the effects can include paralysis, speech and swallowing difficulties, problems with memory, hearing and eyesight – it all depends on where in the brain the stroke occurs and how severe it is.”
Research shows that more than 80% of strokes are preventable.
You can reduce your risk of suffering a stroke by doing the following:
Certain medical conditions can also be linked to an increased stroke risk. These include:
“Ask your doctor for a Heart Health Check and find out more about your stroke and heart disease risk,” says Professor Campbell.
It’s also important to remember that stroke risk factors do increase with age, but they can happen to anyone at any age, a stroke doesn’t discriminate.