Did you know stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers? In 2020 there were 27,428 Australians who experienced stroke for the first time. That equates to one stroke every 19 minutes. More than 445,087 Australians are living with the effects of stroke.
Stroke effects everyone differently, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms to look out for, and the ways you can reduce your risk. The home doctor experts at House Call Doctor have all the information you need to know.
WHAT IS STROKE?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain either suddenly becomes blocked or raptures. This can prevent blood and oxygen from reaching the brain cells.
There are two types of stroke:
- Ischaemic stroke – An artery in the brain gets blocked by a clot.
- Haemorrhagic stroke – A blood vessel in the brain breaks, causing bleeding.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
Look for symptoms and think F.A.S.T.
F – Has their face dropped?
A – Can they lift both arms?
C – Is their speech slurred and do they understand you?
E – Call 000, time is critical.
It’s important to remember that a stroke is ALWAYS a medical emergency. The longer the person remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.
The most common symptoms of stroke are facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech. Other symptoms include:
- Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
- Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
- Headache – usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
- Difficulty swallowing.
If these signs disappear within a short time, such as a few minutes, it may be a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). Your risk of stroke is higher after a TIA and can lead to death or disability.
HOW TO PREVENT STROKE?
Research shows 80% of strokes can be prevented.
You can prevent stroke by taking these simple steps:
- Make time to see your doctor or pharmacist for a regular health check.
- Take responsibility for your own health and lifestyle choices.
Here are a few ways you can make healthy changes to your daily lifestyle:
- Stay active – Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week (preferably all).
- Eat well – Eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce the risk of becoming overweight and obese.
- Quit smoking – Smoking doubles your risk of stroke.
- Drink alcohol in moderation – Drinking large amounts of alcohol increases your risk of stroke. The Australian Alcohol Guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks per day.
For more information head to https://strokefoundation.org.au/.