Regional Queensland urged to arm-up with stroke knowledge

Stroke Foundation

Stroke Foundation is urging regional Queenslanders to arm themselves with life-saving information by learning about the least recognised sign of stroke.

The Foundation is asking Australians to remember ‘ A is for arms’ in a bid to boost awareness that inability to lift both arms is a key sign of stroke and, if gone unnoticed, could have deadly consequences.

“Every minute a stroke strikes, up to 1.9 million brain cells are attacked. The longer a stroke goes untreated the more damage it does, which can result in death and long-term disability.” Stroke Foundation Interim Executive Director Stroke Services and Research, Mr Kelvin Hill says.

New Stroke Foundation data from the most recent annual F.A.S.T. National Awareness Survey shows that only 12 per cent of people living in regional Queensland know that inability to lift both arms is a sign of stroke.

“This means the majority of regional Queenslanders would not know that someone who was having difficulty raising both arms could be having a stroke and they would not act with the urgency needed when a stroke strikes.”

The F.A.S.T. acronym highlights the three most common signs of stroke (face, arms, speech). The T stands for time as a reminder that there is no time to waste, stroke is a medical emergency and always a 000 call.

National Stroke Audit data shows that close to 60 per cent of Australian stroke patients present to hospital with arm deficit however inability to lift both arms is consistently the least recognised of the three common signs.

“This is a significant proportion of stroke patients who are arriving to hospital with this particular indicator of stroke so it’s concerning that the majority of regional Queenslanders don’t know it’s a sign.”

“Knowing the signs of stroke is a crucial first step in receiving emergency treatment and increasing the chances of surviving and living well after stroke. By knowing the signs, you recognise a stroke sooner, call an ambulance sooner, and get emergency medical treatment sooner.” Mr Hill said.

More than 5,300 first-time strokes will be experienced by Queenslanders this year and regional Australians are 17 per cent more likely to have a stroke. Stroke Foundation is urging residents to be prepared and to know what stroke looks like when it strikes.

“Strokes don’t have to be a death sentence. Something as simple as knowing the F.A.S.T. acronym saves lives.”

Stroke Foundation’s aim is for every Queenslander to know the F.A.S.T acronym and to understand the importance of calling an ambulance immediately when stroke strikes.

The organisation is calling on the Queensland Government to help do this by investing in a F.A.S.T. Community Education program.

“Investing long-term in education is a proven and effective way to lift awareness. We know our F.A.S.T awareness program works; we’ve seen it succeed in other states like regional New South Wales where awareness of stroke signs lifted by 20 per cent. We want to see that improvement across Queensland,” Mr Hill says.

“Unfortunately, Queensland is one of four states and territories that are yet to fund a F.A.S.T awareness education campaign but we’re hopeful the state government will see value in this education program and invest in a generational improvement in the health of its people.”

/Public Release. View in full here.