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Stroke is a deadly disease, one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability that can affect anyone at any age. By the year 2050 it is predicted that the number of people living with the effects of Stroke will increase to 1 Million.  

The ability to recognise stroke symptoms and seek immediate emergency treatment is paramount to minimising its devastating impacts. For every minute that a stroke goes undetected and untreated, it is destroying up to 1.9 million brain cells. Pause for a moment and consider that. Up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute destroyed from what is our control centre. It is our brain that controls our behaviours, thoughts, emotions, senses and our motions, and so depending upon the area of the brain that is being damaged, stroke victims can experience a multitude of devastating complications

For each Stroke victim, the damage done to brain cells will differ, because it depends upon the area of brain tissue that has been impacted by clotting or bleeding, and therefore starved of oxygen.

There are two types of Strokes:

1. Ischematic Stroke: This is the most common form of stroke, accounting for 80% of cases worldwide, and results from blood flow loss to the brain due to an artery clot.

2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: This occurs when a blood vessel bursts depriving the brain with oxygenated blood. In such instances, it can cause pressure on the surrounding cells and permanent damage.

For National Stroke Week, the Stroke Foundation, an Australian charity that raises awareness in the prevention and mitigation of strokes, is promoting F.A.S.T as an easy method for recognising the symptoms of stroke and acting quickly in seeking medical intervention.

Quick medical intervention can save your life or someone else’s and improve the chances of successful rehabilitation. Therefore, become a F.A.S.T Hero

Importantly, more than 80% of strokes can be prevented

Think F.A.S.T, Act Fast

FACECheck their face. Has their mouth drooped?

ARM – Can they lift your arms? 

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

TIME –  Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away. What to do while you wait for an ambulance

Stroke Prevention

Whilst there are risk factors that increase the chance of a stroke, making healthy and active lifestyle choices and undertaking a health check are to things you can do two reduce your risk of stroke.

Risk factors include:

Diabetes
Maintaining a healthy blood glucose level reduces the risk of a stroke as excess blood sugar level causes damage to the circulatory system.

Talk to your GP about undertaking regular blood tests and how maintaining a healthy weight is vital for keeping strokes away.

Smoking

Whilst we know that quitting smoking is difficult, the more you smoke, the more you are putting yourself at risk of stroke. This is because smoking causes increased blood pressure, and as the blood thickens it increases the risk of blood clotting. It’s never too late to quit smoking and at Territory Medical we provide quit smoking consultations, so we can help you through the challenge. Contact us for more information. 

High Blood Pressure

One of the most common reasons for a stroke occurring is high blood pressure as it causes damage to blood vessel walls that can eventually lead to a stroke. 

A regular blood pressure check is vital for your stroke health. 

Excessive alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to risk factors associated with strokes including higher blood pressure, diabetes, overweight and liver damage.

Final Thoughts

Know the signs of stroke, and seek immediate emergency assistance should they present. 

Think F.A.S.T, and act Fast

Maintaining an active interest your health, through regular visits with your Doctor, including undertaking blood tests, and keeping an active and healthy lifestyle is important to help reduce the opportunity for stroke to occur.

Figures quoted throughout this article can be referred to at the Stroke Foundation Facts & Figures 

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