Shining spotlight on Indigenous Australians health outcomes during National Stroke Week

Stroke Foundation

The Stroke Foundation is calling for increased stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to bridge the divide in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

As part of National Stroke Week (August 8-14), Stroke Foundation is highlighting the inequities experienced by Indigenous peoples who are impacted by stroke. Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to be hospitalised from stroke and 1.3 times more likely to die.

“The statistics are quite shocking when it comes to stroke in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and that’s why we need to share them in order to make a change,” Ms McGowan said.

“Stroke is the sixth leading cause of death in Indigenous Australia, and the burden of disease for stroke is 2.3 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“One-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are at high risk of stroke, that’s despite 80 per cent of strokes being preventable through managing your blood pressure and adopting a healthy lifestyle.”

National Stroke Week is Stroke Foundation’s annual awareness campaign. You can support the campaign by sharing, retweeting, or creating your own social media post on any platform. Learn and share the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke and call triple zero (000) straight away if you suspect a stroke.

“When a stroke happens, it kills up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute, but medical treatments can stop this damage. The vital first step in accessing these treatments is recognising the F.A.S.T. stroke signs and calling triple zero (000) straight away,” Ms McGowan said.

“Stroke impacts Indigenous communities more than others, but the good news is that the way to reduce stroke risk is the same for every Australian. Increasing awareness of stroke signs and the main risks can reduce the burden of stroke in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

When stroke strikes, time is brain, the faster everyone gets to hospital, the better their health outcomes can be.

“We want all Australians to have the knowledge and support they need to prevent stroke and to act fast if stroke strikes.”

To recognise stroke, think F.A.S.T and ask these questions:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away

Stroke Foundation has a dedicated national resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which is available to the public. The Our Stroke Journey booklet is available here.

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