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Indigenous Australians Have Twice the Risk of Stroke Featured

Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely to be hospitalised for stroke and are 1.4 times more likely to die from stroke than non-indigenous Australians. These alarming figures were revealed in a recent study conducted by the Australian National University.

There is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in stroke statistics. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Australia.

Dr Mark Wenitong, Public Health Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), says that strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and Health screening, and just as importantly, a healthy pregnancy and early childhood can reduce risk for the child in later life.

“The current guidelines recommend that a stroke risk screening be provided for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years of age. However there is an argument to introduce that screening at a younger age.” Dr Wenitong said.

“Education is required to assist all Australians to understand what a stroke is, how to reduce the risk of stroke and the importance be fast acting at the first sign of stroke.” Dr Mark added.

Apunipima delivers primary health care services, health screening, health promotion and education to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people across 11 Cape York communities. These health screens will help to make sure you aren’t at risk.

We encourage you to speak to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health Practitioner or visit one of Apunipima’s Health Centres to talk to them about getting a health screen.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted, depriving an area of the brain of oxygen. This is usually caused by a clot (ischaemic stroke) or a bleed in the brain (haemorrhagic stroke). Brief stroke-like episodes that resolve by themselves are called transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs). They are often a sign of an impending stroke, and need to be treated seriously.

Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage. After an ischaemic stroke, patients can lose up to 1.9 million neurons a minute until blood flow to the brain is restored.

What to do in case of stroke?

Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage. After an ischaemic stroke, patients can lose up to 1.9 million neurons a minute until blood flow to the brain is restored.

The Australian National Stroke Foundation promotes the FAST tool as a quick way for anyone to identify a possible stroke. FAST consists of the following simple steps:
Face – has their mouth has dropped on one side?
Arm – can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time – is critical. Call an ambulance.

Last modified onWednesday, 05 September 2018 06:22