WIMMERA Health Care Group has urged people to arm themselves with life-saving skills to minimise stroke damage.
This week is National Stroke Week.
The group’s stroke care co-ordinator Jarrod Hunter said stroke affected people regardless of their postcode.
“Statistics show that 426 strokes will be suffered by residents in the Mallee electorate this year,” he said.
The Stroke Foundation commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to estimate the impact of stroke across Australia.
The report revealed the Mallee electorate had a higher number of strokes and people living with stroke in 2017 compared with the Victorian and national average.
Mr Hunter said time was of the essence when it came to managing strokes.
“Because stroke symptoms are not prominent, people do not see the emergency,” he said.
Mr Hunter encouraged people to think F.A.S.T – Face, Arms, Speech and Time – to recognise the signs of a stroke.
“Has the person’s face drooped? Can the person raise both arms? Is their speech slurred? They are all signs that the person is having a stroke and people should call Triple Zero immediately,” he said.
Mr Hunter said high blood pressure, high cholesterol and people being physically inactive were core contributors to stroke.
He said seeing a doctor and making healthy lifestyle changes could minimise risk.
“Prevention is the best treatment for stroke, and we know that 80 per cent of strokes are preventable,” he said.
Mr Hunter said there were 3455 stroke survivors living in the community, but people should remember that a stroke did not change who a person was.
“While they have some weakness, they haven’t changed as a person. They just want to be treated the same way as before their stroke,” he said.
National Stroke Week finishes on Friday.
Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham has offered free health checks during the week.
Horsham’s Priceline Pharmacy will provide health checks until September 15.
Ararat Pharmasave and Nhill Pharmacy will also offer health checks until Sunday.