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Aussies urged to assess stroke risk and act F.A.S.T

Stroke symptoms

National Stroke Week (August 2-8) highlights that fast action is critical when someone has a stroke

Approximately 29 strokes a day experienced by Australians of working age in 2020

Free 10-minute Stroke Risk Assessment provides first step in stroke prevention for all Australians 

With one stroke occurring every 19 minutes in Australia in 2020 and over440,000 Australians living with the effects of stroke, Australia’s leading community pharmacy network, Blooms The Chemist, is urging Aussies to be cognisant of the warning signs of stroke and get their stroke risk assessed this National Stroke Week (August 2-8). 

According to the Stroke Foundation, more than 80 per cent of strokes are preventable by taking charge of one’s own health and by embracing a healthy lifestyle, as well as making time for a regular health check for stroke risk factors.

Steve Waugh, Australia’s much loved cricket captain and wife Lynette know all too well the importance of acting fast as well as the lasting impacts of having a stroke. Lynette suffered her first stroke at the relatively young age of 40, which she thought was merely a painful headache. 

“It was a normal day for me, running errands, taking the kids to school. However, the headache I had mildly for a few days started to get worse, to the point where I started to lose vision in one of my eyes. Luckily in 2006, my sister, who is a nurse, recognised my symptoms using the F.A.S.T signs of stroke and called an ambulance for me,” said Lynette. 

“Fifteen years on – and just having experienced my second stroke, I recognised my F.A.S.T symptoms. Time was crucial, so I went to a stranger saying, ”I’m having a stroke can you please call an ambulance”. This stroke kept me in the ICU for 10 days, and I’m still making progress in my recovery journey. We’ve spent more than a decade piecing my health puzzle together, and while you have a mix of good and bad days in the process, I’ve learnt the importance of slowing down and keeping positive,” she said.

Eric Chan, Head of Pharmacy at Blooms The Chemist said that stories like Lynnette’s are all too common these days and that the community pharmacy network, which offers in-pharmacy tests and assessments, is on a mission to raise awareness that strokes are largely preventable if we look after our health and check for risks.

“We are committed to supporting the optimal health of our communities and prevention is one of our key priorities. We have a wide range of complimentary assessments and health checks to help limit the risk of stroke and other conditions including the Stroke Risk AssessmentBlood Pressure Evaluation and Cholesterol Screening,” said Chan ahead of National Stroke Week.  

“The Blooms The Chemist Stroke Risk Assessment is a quick and easy test taken in pharmacy, and is a first step in stroke risk mitigation. No matter your age or lifestyle, stroke can strike anyone, any time,” said Waugh, who is grateful for the help Lynette received from her family, friends and community. 

Blooms The Chemist, in partnership with the Stroke Foundation, wants to educate Australians around the most common signs of stroke by thinking F.A.S.T: 

  • 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.

“Knowing the signs of stroke using the F.A.S.T. Test and seeking immediate medical attention can be life changing. Throughout every minute of a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells are attacked. Every single second counts during a stroke, with the outcome depending greatly on how quickly medical treatment occurs,” said Chan. 

“Taking a Blooms The Chemist Stroke Risk Assessment is easy, quick and simple – acting as the initial step towards risk prevention. No matter your age or lifestyle, stroke can strike anyone, any time,” said Waugh. 

If you are unsure of your risks of experiencing a stroke, talk to your health practitioners and local Blooms The Chemist Pharmacists about reducing your chances of having stroke.  Blooms The Chemist offers a free Stroke Risk Assessment; it takes less than 10 minutes and is an initial step toward stroke risk prevention. Your Pharmacist will take your blood pressure and ask a series of simple lifestyle, familial history, and age-related questions, to assess your overall risk of stroke.

Image by VSRao from Pixabay

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