This week is stroke week. To me this is a time to step back and consider the impact of stroke on the lives of individuals and the community.
It is also a great time to consider stroke prevention. So, read on for my 3 top tips to prevent a stroke!
What is a stroke?
Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. This results in areas of the brain being damaged. Every person is different after stroke depending on the size and the area of the brain affected.
Common problem experienced after stroke include muscle weakness, loss of control of movement and difficulty completing everyday tasks. Other problems experienced can include muscle tightness, spasticity, loss of sensation, fatigue and pain.
Important facts about stroke
- Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Australia1
- In 2017 there was a new stroke occurring every 9 minutes!2
- Stroke is a condition with recovery potential – meaning rehabilitation can be successful and you can achieve function post-stroke
- Physiotherapy has a key role in rehabilitation after stroke
How do I know if someone has had a stroke?
Remember the FAST test! First, check their face, has their mouth drooped? Second, can they lift both arms? And lastly, is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
It is important to get to hospital quickly after stroke as some treatments need to be given early to be effective. So, if you notice any of these signs get to hospital ASAP.
Photo sourced from the Stroke Foundation website.
How can I prevent a stroke occurring?
Stroke is primarily a lifestyle disease, so to prevent a stroke you need to live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are my top 3 tips for stroke prevention:
- Have your blood pressure checked. Maintaining a normal blood pressure is extremely important. Have it checked and if it is high talk to your doctor about strategies to manage your blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking is a major risk factor for stroke (and many other health conditions).
- Be active. The more physical activity you can pack into life and less sedentary behaviour the better for stroke prevention.
There is a great freely available application called the Stroke RiskometerTM that can help you to identify your personal stroke risk and offer you strategies to decrease your risk. More information about the application can be found here: https://www.strokeriskometer.com
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. Australia’s Health 2018
 Deloitte Access Economics. No postcode untouched – Stroke in Australia 2017