News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Awareness of stroke symptoms important

Awareness of stroke symptoms important

3 April 2014

MidCentral Health is encouraging people to learn more about stroke; ahead of Stroke Awareness Week which runs from 7-13 April.

Strokes are the third most frequent cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for about 2500 deaths each year. It doesn’t just impact older people either, with 10 percent of deaths occurring in those aged under 65. It is also the leading cause of long-term disability.

One-third of new stroke patients (700 per 1,000,000) die each year, and less than half recover and regain their independence. It is important to identify risk factors and causes of stroke in order to take steps toward prevention. Primary prevention addresses all measures for avoiding a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Prevention includes blood pressure lowering, cholesterol reduction, smoking cessation, and antiplatelet therapy (to help prevent blood clots).

A stroke can either result from a brain bleed or from a blocked vessel in the brain. Brain bleeds can present with an abrupt onset of a severe headache (like no headache ever experienced before), accompanied by vomiting and neck stiffness.

However, more often strokes present with one or more symptoms highlighted below.

To help prevent the deaths and ongoing disabilities that result from strokes, the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand has devised a quick check to recognise stroke symptoms.

Using the FAST check, people are encouraged to look at the:
Face – smile see if one side of the mouth is drooping
Arms – raise both arms and see if one side is weak
Speech – try speaking. Is it possible, and are words jumbled or slurred?
Time – act fast, any lost time could mean lost brain function.

The faster people act when a stroke is taking place, the better. For some strokes thrombolytic treatment (breaking the clot down) is a potential treatment in the first few hours.

MidCentral Health neurologist Dr Ivan Iniesta and clinical nurse specialist acute stroke service Imogen Watson are urging people to learn the symptoms of a stroke, and to take preventative measures.

“Time is very important when someone is suffering a stroke, and if you don’t know the symptoms then it will take longer for them to get medical care. This is why it is so important that everyone is aware of what a stroke looks like. People should also make sure that they keep their blood pressure low, as this is a major cause of strokes.

“It is a common misconception that strokes are not preventable, and come from nowhere. Leading a healthy lifestyle with exercise, healthy eating, limiting alcohol and quitting smoking can all help prevent strokes from occurring. These are all everyday activities that have benefits for your entire body.”

The longer it takes for such potentially beneficial treatment to be given the larger the brain damage is likely to be. Immediate contact with emergency services should be made in case of any of the above (FAST) symptoms. Remember that ‘time is brain’.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Poroporoaki: Dr Apirana Tuahae Kaukapakapa Mahuika

Papa Api was a man of many great gifts and occupied a long list of roles including priest, teacher, scholar, politician, and leader. Chair of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, and a rangatira of his iwi... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news