New report value in preventing and reducing stroke

A report released today has found thousands of lives and billions of dollars could be saved annually by preventing stroke and improving access to treatment and care.

The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 found the economic impact of stroke was a shocking $6.2 billion dollars in direct financial costs and a further $26 billion in premature mortality and lost wellbeing (short and long-term disability).

Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee Chair Professor Amanda Thrift said this year alone more than 27,000 Australians would experience stroke for the first time in their lives.

“Stroke has long been recognised as being among the costliest disease groups and, while it is not the death sentence it once was for many, stroke is a leading cause of disability in this country,” Prof Thrift said.

“The Report demonstrates the magnitude of stroke’s impact today, its potential impact moving forward, as well as the opportunities and value in investing to help Australians avoid, survive and recover from stroke.”

Stroke Foundation commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to deliver The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 report, coupled with an update of Stroke Foundation’s No Postcode Untouched, Stroke in Australia 2020 report quantifying the impact of stroke. The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 uses financial modelling to estimate the economic impact of stroke, looking at direct health system costs as well as the broader impact of short and long-term disability on the community.

The Report also modelled the savings that could be made by acting to reduce uncontrolled high blood pressure in the community and provide greater access to emergency stroke treatments. The No Postcode Untouched, Stroke in Australia 2020 report maps stroke incidence, prevalence and risk factors by federal electorate division.

Data contained in the reports has been delivered independent of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, however there is potential COVID-19 will affect its results. Evidence is emerging people have delayed trips to their doctor for health checks and chronic disease management since the pandemic began in January 2020. Emergency calls to triple zero (000) and continuity of care have also been disrupted.

Prof Thrift said the reports detailed concerning evidence that more Australians of working-age were experiencing stroke and there continued to be an over representation of stroke in regional and rural Australia.

Stroke Foundation worked with some of Australia’s leading stroke experts to identify achievable benchmarks in stroke prevention, treatment and care to stem the tide of this disease.

“Achieving the benchmarks referenced in the report could mean thousands of Australians avoiding stroke, surviving and living well after stroke equating to savings of $179.0 million over five years in economic costs and $2.4 billion in reduced mortality and improved wellbeing annually,” Prof Thrift said.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said it was important to remember behind the numbers were real lives.

“Stroke attacks the brain, the human control centre, changing lives in an instant,” she said.

“It can strike anyone at any time, but it can be treated and the damage reduced.

“The National Strategic Action Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke provides a roadmap of evidence-based interventions to address stroke, many of which have been modelled in this report.

“We have an opportunity to act now to change the course of this disease for generations to come. I look forward to working with governments to implement the Action Plan. It is an investment we can, and must, make for the health and wellbeing of our community” she said.

Media Release

More on The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 report and the No Postcode Untouched, Stroke in Australia, 2020 report including information on stroke’s impact in your federal electorate division here

Interviews with Stroke Foundation spokespeople, clinicians and survivors of stroke available on request.

Key facts

27,428 Australians will experience a stroke for the first time in 2020.

One stroke occurs in Australia every 19 minutes.

445,087 survivors of stroke living in our community in 2020.

The economic cost of stroke exceeded $6.2 billion, with a further $26.0 billion in lost wellbeing – due to short and long-term disability, and premature death.

Reducing uncontrolled high blood pressure and providing quicker access to emergency stroke treatments has the potential to save $179.0 million over five years in economic costs and $2.4 billion in reduced mortality and improved wellbeing annually.

8,703 Australians will die as a result of stroke this year.

24 percent of strokes strike people aged 18-54 in 2020, in 2012 this number was 14 percent.

Regional and rural Australians are 17 percent more likely to experience a stroke than their metropolitan counterparts.

In 2050, without action, 50,600 Australians will experience a stroke for the first time and there will be 819,900 survivors of stroke in the community.

About the reports

Stroke Foundation commissioned The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 report and the No Postcode Untouched, Stroke in Australia 2020 report from Deloitte Access Economics.

The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 was made possible through sponsorship provided to the Stroke Foundation by Boehringer Ingelheim and Medtronic Australasia.

The No Postcode Untouched, Stroke in Australia 2020 report update was made possible through sponsorship provided to the Stroke Foundation by Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer Australia.

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