Stroke predictions a wake-up call for Government - SFNZ

Predictions of a growth in the number of stroke cases are a wake-up call for everyone to address the risk of stroke – but especially Government.

That’s the response of Stroke Foundation CEO Mark Vivian to research by Anna Ranta of Otago University which has predicted stroke volumes to increase by 40% by 2028 due to population growth and aging.

“The projections don’t come as a surprise,” Mark says.

“We’ve been concerned for some time that the growing, aging population is going to mean an increase in people having strokes.

“As a charity supporting the stroke community, we see the human cost of that every day, on Kiwis from all walks of life and their families. Stroke can be devastating and upsetting. Fortunately, treatment has improved greatly and is more widely available – so there’s a much better chance of making a strong recovery. Many stroke survivors do go on to live a rewarding life after stroke.

“But prevention is better than cure. The Government must do more and spend more, to help all New Zealanders reduce their stroke risk. Anyone can have a stroke, so this vital health issue affects everyone.

Three-quarters of strokes can be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle and getting regular blood pressure checks.

“It’s good to see that the research shows stroke incidence and mortality have decreased markedly since the early 1980s. The challenge now is to carry that progress forward.

“We all – but especially Government – have the potential to stop these projections becoming reality. That would mean thousands of New Zealanders saved from stroke, and millions of dollars saved in downstream health care.

“In the meantime, we urge all New Zealanders to learn FAST , which teaches the most common symptoms of stroke and to call 111. It could save your life, or that of someone you love.”