Stroke Prevention: Act FAST

Would you know what to do? Would you even know what you were witnessing? Stroke is the second biggest cause of death in Australia after heart disease and is a major cause of devastating disability.

“Strokes wreck lives and are a massive national health budget expenditure, yet it remains a little understood disease.”

Most people understand the term heart attack because the words used to describe the event, evoke its very meaning. Stroke, however, is brain attack. Blood flow to the brain is interrupted (for a variety of reasons) and immediately the cells that amount to life,to thought and to mobility begin to die.

They cannot be recovered. In Black and White One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Every 10 minutes in Australia someone suffers a stroke. One in five people die within one month of having their first-ever stroke. One in three people die within a year of having their first-ever stroke. Stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. Almost one in five people who experience a stroke are under the age of 55.

“Strokes cost an estimated $2.14 billion peryear in Australia alone inhealth costs and the social cost is inestimable.”

We ask all Australians to understand thesigns of stroke so they can act quickly if they suspect someone around them is having a stroke. Sadly, too many still don’t know what a stroke is, let alone how to recognise one. Every second lost by delaying treatment amounts to brain loss.

F.A.S.T. – Face, Arms, Speech and Time.

We have a simple test, known as FAST,which we ask people to memorise. This test indicates if stroke is occurring.

Face: Has the person’s mouth drooped?

Arms: Can they raise their arms?

Speech: Is their speech slurred?

Time: Act immediately – call 000.

Stroke is preventable. A stroke is treatable. Stroke claims more lives – and more livelihoods– than it should. After a stroke, many people still leave hospital without so much as a discharge care plan. There is no co-ordinated mechanism to make sure that when people leave hospital they are followed up.

There have been some important improvements in stroke care and management, but there remains much work to be done. Despite the fact that in the 1990′s heart, stroke and vascular health was one of the first national health priority areas identified by the Australian government, we have seen too little direct funding for stroke.

The data we have on stroke is appalling. Targeted stroke research funding is inadequate.This would make an immense difference to the way we tackle this disease. Australia’s last community-based cohort study, which is the best way of determining stroke incidence

in the community, was conducted in 1996. So in reality we don’t really know how many strokes are even happening – but we must manage the fall-out.

For more information, visit The Stroke Foundation.



Information sourced from:


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