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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Mornington Peninsula falling behind on stroke awareness

New Stroke Foundation data has found that residents on the Mornington Peninsula are going backwards when it comes to knowing the common signs of stroke. 
 
The foundation’s F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) National Awareness Survey, completed by YouGov, found that there’s been a decrease in awareness of two of the three most common signs of stroke when compared to the year before. It found that awareness of facial droop had dropped by 5% from 56% in 2022 to 51% in 2023, while awareness of speech difficulty has dropped by 2%, going from 64 to 62% in one year.  
 
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lisa Murphy said the statistics are heading in the wrong direction.
 
“This is concerning because what this is telling us is that fewer people on the Mornington Peninsula would recognise a stroke and might not know that it is a medical emergency that requires immediate specialist treatment. This can have detrimental outcomes,” said Dr Murphy.
 
In 2023, the Stroke Foundation commissioned YouGov to survey thousands of Australians on their awareness of the signs and risks of stroke and test their knowledge of the F.A.S.T. acronym which highlights the most common signs of stroke (F for facial droop, A for inability to lift both arms, S for slurred speech and T stands for time- stroke is always a medical emergency so call an ambulance immediately).  
 
“When a stroke strikes, it attacks up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute. Acting quickly and getting emergency treatment by calling 000 can be the difference between surviving and living well after stroke or death and long-term disability.”
 
“Knowing the signs of stroke and recognising a stroke saves lives,” Dr Murphy said.  
 
The survey also measures Australians’ awareness of the modifiable risk factors of stroke. On a positive note, it found the Mornington Peninsula’s awareness of high blood pressure, stress and low physical activity as risk factors of stroke has increased. 
 
“This is heartening to see considering 80 per cent of strokes are preventable. By knowing what the risks are, we can make changes to our lives that decrease our chances of having a stroke.”  
 
One of the leading causes of stroke is high blood pressure. In the Mornington Peninsula region, 32,284 people are living with high blood pressure. 
 
“I cannot stress enough the importance of having regular health and blood pressure checks to firstly identify if you have high blood pressure, and then work with your GP on ways to reduce your blood pressure and control it,” Dr Murphy said.

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