01 Feb 2024 health stroke awareness

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has today reminded people about the importance of stroke awareness and facilitating greater access to time-critical care.

Mr Ward said that almost 9,000 first time strokes will be experienced by New South Wales residents this year. More than 145,000 stroke survivors are living in New South Wales.

“The Stroke Foundation educates people of all ages about F.A.S.T. which stands for Face (is the person’s face drooping), Arms (can they lift both arms), Speech (are they slurring), Time (every second counts. Call 000),” he said.

“F.A.S.T. captures 80 to 90 percent of signs of strokes.

“I would encourage people to ask themselves ‘When was the last time you had a full check up with your GP’? Some serious health issues are preventable. 

“We want to increase stroke awareness and education in our communities and to increase efficiency of health clinics and retrieval services when dealing with potential stroke cases.

“Such improvements would also result in quicker hospital arrivals, thereby facilitating greater access to time-critical care for stroke patients.

“A stroke can happen to almost anyone, at any age. In fact, around 30% of strokes happen in working age Australians. 80% of strokes would not happen if the person had done a simple lifestyle assessment,” Mr Ward said.

For example:

  • Is your blood pressure high?
  • Is your cholesterol above average?
  • Do you spend a lot of time sitting – In meetings, in a car or in front of a screen?
  • Do you exercise (including walking) for around half an hour a day, most days of the week?
  • Are you carrying extra kilos?
  • Have you had a previous cardio-vascular event e.g. a stroke, TIA or heart attack?
  • Do you smoke, have diabetes or a family history of cardio-vascular disease?

“Only you know the answers to these questions, and I encourage all local residents’ to consider getting a regular check-up with their local GP to discuss possible options,” Mr Ward said.

“The Stroke Foundation is the national voice of stroke in Australia and it strongly believes that prevention is better than the alternative.

“They also provide StrokeSafe Speakers, a dedicated group of trained volunteers, who your office can book for community forums, seniors festivals etc. There is no charge and the booking form is simple to complete,” Mr Ward concluded.