A new Stroke Foundation survey has found people living in regional Western Australia are more likely than their metropolitan counterparts to recognise if they or someone they love is having a stroke.
The most recent F.A.S.T National Awareness Survey results found that Western Australia outperforms Perth in all areas of stroke awareness, particularly when recognising the common stroke signs.
The F.A.S.T acronym highlights the three most common signs of stroke – Facial droop, the inability to lift both Arms, and slurred Speech. The ‘T’ stands for time, as a reminder that a stroke requires time-critical emergency treatment.
The survey found 33 per cent of regional residents knew none of the signs of stroke, which is a significant improvement on last year, when 40 per cent of regional Western Australians admitted they knew none of the signs. The finding outperforms the city as 42 per cent of Perth residents say they do not know any of the common stroke signs.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said while it’s promising to see further awareness about the signs of stroke, more work must be done to ensure every Australian recognises the signs.
“Unfortunately, regional Australians are 17 per cent more likely to have a stroke than their metropolitan counterparts, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 1.5 times more likely to die from stroke as non-Indigenous Australians,” Ms McGowan said.
“More than 80 per cent of strokes display at least one of the F.A.S.T signs of stroke, that’s why we need to ensure someone in every home and workplace can recognise those key F.A.S.T signs and call an ambulance as soon as possible.”
She said every improvement in awareness, no matter how small, has an impact.
“While these may seem like small increases on paper, that’s tens of thousands of people who now know what a stroke looks like and will react quickly by calling an ambulance,” she said.
Stroke Foundation’s data indicates approximately 2,700 people in Western Australia will have a stroke this year which is why recognising the signs is crucial.
“If you recognise a stroke, you can take the vital first step in getting a person, often a loved one, the emergency medical help they need. This provides the best chance of a good outcome,” Ms McGowan said.
Anyone of any age can be impacted by stroke and almost a quarter of all strokes happen to young, working age Australians. Recognising stroke and getting urgent medical treatment is often the difference between returning to work, sport, and community life – or not.