Stroke kills more women than breast cancer

More women die from stroke compared to men, and stroke is one of the leading causes of death for females in Australia.

In fact, stroke kills more women than breast cancer.1

Tracey Revell, 48, from Aspley in Brisbane had a stroke three years ago at work. She thought she was having a migraine and told her colleagues not to worry.

“But they were so concerned they called my son Keegan who also works in the same building,” Tracey said.

“As soon as he saw me he noticed my mouth drooping. My left hand wasn’t working and I couldn’t lift my left leg.”

Tracey said Keegan had seen his great grandfather have a stroke and knew the signs.

“He called my husband and said, ‘mum’s mouth is drooping, I think she’s having a stroke’.”

An ambulance was immediately called and Tracey went to hospital where she had clot retrieval surgery. She has regained almost full function but lives with daily nerve pain in her left arm and hand.

“The whole time I was just thinking ‘I’m too young to have a stroke’. I was lucky my family knew the signs,” Tracey said.

“If someone is complaining of weakness in their arm, can’t lift things, or has drooping of the mouth, make that call, call triple 0.”

Dr Rohan Grimley, Stroke Physician at Sunshine Coast University Hospital, said more than 80 per cent of strokes could be prevented.

“Factors such as overweight and obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity all contribute to a person’s risk of having a stroke,” he said.

Dr Grimley said stroke was one of the leading causes of premature death and severe disability in Queensland, so it was important people knew the signs of stroke and to respond immediately.

“Minutes count if you are having a stroke. Early treatment, such as Tracey received, can make a huge difference to your outcome,” he said.

Symptoms of a stroke include:

  • weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
  • difficulty speaking or understanding
  • dizziness (sudden and severe onset)
  • loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
  • difficulty swallowing.

“Using the F.A.S.T. test is an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke,” Dr Grimley said.

Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms Can they lift both arms?

Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

The Queensland Government offers a free program to people at high risk of developing a chronic condition such as stroke.

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