Think F.A.S.T and act FAST this National Stroke Week
Worrying new Stroke Foundation statistics have found only 36 percent of Australians who suffer a stroke reach hospital within a critical 4.5 hour window for clot busting treatment.
This treatment, called thrombolysis, involves administering a drug which can break down and disperse a blood clot, significantly improving the outcome for patients.
As a result of the time-critical nature of stroke treatment, Australians are being urged to arm themselves with potentially life-saving skills this National Stroke Week by thinking FAST, learning the signs of stroke and seeking hospital treatment immediately.
This year alone, Australians will experience more than 56,000 strokes.
Stroke kills more women than breast cancer, more men than prostate cancer and leaves thousands with an ongoing disability.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said, encouragingly, advancements in stroke treatment mean stroke is no longer a death sentence for many.
“When a stroke happens, almost 1.9 million brain cells die each minute, so time is critical. With the right treatment at the right time, many people are able to make a full recovery,’’ Ms McGowan said.
“This is where Australians of all ages can make a difference. We want you to remember the word FAST, which stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.
“Ask yourself these questions if you are confronted with a medical emergency you suspect may be a stroke. Has the person’s face drooped? Can they lift both arms? Is their speech slurred? If the answer to any of these is ‘yes’, call an ambulance straight away.”
The Stroke Foundation wants to ensure someone in every Australian household knows the signs of stroke.
Paramedics, nurses and doctors can only help if people recognise the signs of stroke, dial 000 and get to hospital quickly. Time saved equals brain saved.
“By knowing the signs of stroke you join the ‘FAST Response Team’ to help stop stroke. Please share the FAST message with your family, friends and colleagues,’’ she said.
“The life you save may be your own.”
National Stroke Week runs from September 4-10. Around the country community groups, hospitals, workplaces and individuals take part. Activities include health checks, information stalls, morning teas, talks from stroke survivors, personal or team challenges and fundraising.
For more information or to find an event near you see www.strokefoundation.org.au
4 September 2017.