Unite and fight stroke

When one suspects another of experiencing a stroke, remembering the F.A.S.T. mnemonic could save their life. Picture: Contributed

This National Stroke Week, the Stroke Foundation is calling on all Australians to unite and help fight stroke together.

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

Each year an estimated 27,000 people experience their first stroke – 1 every 19 minutes.

Strokes kill more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer.

Starting on Monday, August 7, the theme of this year’s National Stroke Week is ‘Fighting Stroke Together’ which highlights the need to work together to prevent stroke.

It also shines a light on the recovery outcomes that occur when people work together when a stroke strikes.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy said anyone can join the fight by learning and sharing the F.A.S.T. – Face, Arms, Speech and Time – signs of stroke with family and friends.

“Stroke does not discriminate. In fact, the rate of stroke in young Australian adults aged 18 to 65 is rising but the good news is there are some key things you can do to reduce your risk of having a stroke,” Dr Murphy said.

“These include exercising regularly, eating healthily, not smoking and visiting your GP for regular health checks for risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.”

Stroke can happen to anyone, at any time. Even newborn babies can have strokes.

When a stroke happens, more than 1.9 million brain cells die each minute. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.

“Stroke takes a person out of their community – that might be for a short term or permanently,” Dr Murphy explained.

“The impact is far-reaching and touches families, workplaces and community groups.

“The good news is that stroke can be treated, and people can recover well – but only if more people can recognise the F.A.S.T. message,” the Stroke Foundation CEO added.

“Calling an ambulance at the first sign of stroke saves and reduces life-long disability.”

Think F.A.S.T and ask these questions if you suspect a stroke:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) straight away.