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Face the facts - Stroke is treatable

Photo: Face the facts: Stroke is treatable
Millions of people around the globe are losing their lives to stroke each year, despite most strokes being treatable, according to new figures from the World Stroke Organization.

Alarmingly, more than 6.5 million deaths are caused by stroke each year making it the world’s second biggest killer and far deadlier than car crashes (1.3 million) and lung cancer (1.6 million) combined.

This World Stroke Day October 29, the Stroke Foundation is joining campaigners around the world in calling for global action to reduce inequality in stroke treatment.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer and World Stroke Organization Board member Sharon McGowan said many lives could be saved with improved access to treatment.

“It is a tragic misconception that stroke can’t be treated – there are highly effective treatments for this disease but sadly too many patients continue to miss out,” Ms McGowan said.
“Around the world there will be more than 17 million strokes this year and we know far too many people will be left with a significant disability – or worse lose their life – because they didn’t have access to best-practice treatment.

“In Australia, around 20,000 stroke patients a year are denied access to the full benefits of stroke unit care and just seven percent of all ischaemic stroke patients receive clot busting treatment – resulting in death and unnecessary disability requiring a lifetime of care.

“Recognising the signs of stroke early, treating it as a medical emergency with admission to a specialised stroke unit, and access to the best professional care can substantially improve outcomes.

“Australia is championing significant advances in stroke treatment and care but the health system must now adapt to support health professionals in the delivery of these advancements.

“This World Stroke Day we are joining the global movement to demand government action on stroke. Stroke should not a death sentence – together we can prevent, treat and beat this devastating disease.”

World Stroke Organization President Stephen Davis said more needed to be done to improve equity of access to critical stroke treatments, particularly for low income communities.

“Improving health outcomes will reduce the costly impact of stroke on healthcare systems around the world – even with limited resources we can do something to improve stroke outcomes” Professor Davis said.

“The right stroke care can prevent stroke and save lives. We are calling on governments to take action to improve awareness that stroke can happen to anyone and increase equity of access to critical stroke treatments.

“I invite the world to join me in the fight against stroke by taking action, driving awareness and pushing for better access to stroke treatments.”

The theme for World Stroke Day on Oct 29 is Face the facts: stroke is treatable, highlighting the need for improved equity in access to best-practice treatment globally. For more information visit www.worldstrokecampaign.org to register your World 

Six key steps to dramatically improve stroke outcomes:
  1. Early recognition makes a big difference so we encourage the public to learn the signs of F.A.S.T. (Face drooping; Arm weakness; Speech slurred; Time to call an ambulance) and know to take immediate action.
  2. Organised stroke care in specialised stroke units improves the chance of a good recovery outcome by 14 percent.
  3. The use of clot busting treatment (thrombolysis) improves the chance of a good outcome by 30 percent in appropriate patients.
  4. The exciting advance of clot retrieval means that a dramatic 50 percent of eligible patients can have a better recovery outcome
  5. Rehabilitation is a critical step in the treatment process.
  6. Primary and secondary prevention treatments and lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of a stroke.



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