Facts and fallacies
Facts about stroke in New Zealand
- Stroke is the third largest killer in New Zealand (about 2500 people every year). Around 10 percent of stroke deaths occur in people under 65.
- Every day about 24 New Zealanders have a stroke. A quarter occur in people under 65. To recognise a stroke click here.
- Stroke is the major cause of serious adult disability in New Zealand.
- Stroke is largely preventable, yet about 9000 New Zealanders every year have a stroke. For information about reducing your stroke risk click here.
- There are an estimated 60,000 stroke survivors in New Zealand. Many are disabled and need significant daily support. However, stroke recovery can continue throughout life.
- Most people can’t recognise the signs of a stroke occurring. Make sure you are aware of the signs to look for. For more information click here.
- High blood pressure is a major cause of strokes. One in five New Zealanders has high blood pressure, and a third of these don’t know it. Reducing your blood pressure can greatly reduce stroke risk. For more information click here.
- Stroke is a medical emergency but many New Zealanders do not have access to the best possible stroke hospital services.
The fallacies: common myths about stroke
- Myth: Stroke can’t be prevented, there’s nothing you can do about it
Fact: Stroke is largely preventable. Early detection and effective control of stroke risk factors can greatly reduce the possibility of stroke. The number of people suffering stroke would be more than halved if all recommended risk reduction strategies were taken in the community.
- Myth: Stroke hits without warning.
Fact: Transient Ischaemic Attacks or TIAs ("mini-strokes") can happen prior to a stroke. These signs of stroke disappear within minutes or hours, but should be seen as a clear warning that a more severe stroke might follow. Early medical attention and treatment can prevent this. There is nothing trivial about a so-called "mini-stroke" - seek medical help immediately.
- Myth: Stroke only affects older people.
Fact: Stroke affects all ages. About 40 strokes a year in New Zealand are suffered by children. Nearly 2000 (a quarter of all strokes) will be suffered by people under retirement age.
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