Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in Australia, killing almost 10,000 Australians each year. Every year more than 50,000 people in Australia have a stroke – that’s around one-hundred Australians experiencing stroke every day. The good news is 4 in 5 strokes are preventable and the odds of survival are much higher if help comes quickly. Knowing the risk factors will empower you to reduce your risk of stroke and If you know the signs of a stroke, you might just save someone’s life.
Types of Stroke
There are several types of stroke. They all involve disrupted blood flow in the brain that leads to brain damage. Here are the most common types of stroke:
What are the Signs of a Stroke?
Signs of a stroke can include the following:
What to do if Someone is Having a Stroke
The Stroke Foundation recommends the use of the acronym FAST to identify that someone is having a stroke:
FAST Signs of a Stroke:
Acting quickly in the event of a stroke is essential. The chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly. People who receive treatment within three hours of symptoms starting have better outcomes than those who don’t.
If someone is having a stroke, call an ambulance. Never drive them to the hospital yourself. First responders can begin life-saving treatment and perform CPR on the way to Emergency and ensure that diagnosis and treatment begin immediately upon hospital arrival.
What are the Risk Factors for a Stroke?
Risk factors for stroke include:
Women have some unique risk factors for stroke. These include:
Many risk factors for stroke are manageable such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Management strategies include a healthy diet, exercise, and medication. If you or a loved one has any of these conditions, make a plan to see a doctor so you can learn how to manage them. If you or your loved one smokes, consider quitting or cutting back.
Advancing age is also a risk factor due to blood vessel damage which occurs through the ageing process. It is possible however to limit that damage through healthy lifestyle choices.
If you are at a significant risk for stroke, doctors commonly prescribe a low dose of aspirin to reduce the risk.
Recovering from a Stroke
If you or your loved one has suffered a stroke, it can be a challenging medical event to cope with and recover from. Patients must simultaneously overcome physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. Many stroke survivors report frustrations with the recovery process. Having a professional care team can help you take a proactive and informed approach to post-stroke care to ease stress.
1 in 4 stroke survivors will have another stroke within 5 years. Up to 80% of second ischemic strokes may be preventable. Accessing care provides the support in reducing the risk of future stroke. Care providers can help by:
So now you have all of the essential knowledge about strokes including how to lower your risk of stroke, how to respond if you witness a stroke, and how to support a loved one through stoke recovery.