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Stroke is Australia’s second biggest killer after heart disease and our leading cause of disability*, with 60,000 Australian suffering from it each year.** Luckily, according to the National Stroke Foundation, there are some things we can do lower the risk of stroke, or if it occurs to spot the early signs so we can get help fast.

spotting the symptoms

According to the National Stroke Foundation’s CEO, Dr Erin Lalor, recognising the early signs of a stroke and seeking medical assistance as soon as possible helps save lives.

“When a stroke is suspected, every second counts – it is vital to call an ambulance immediately to give the patient the best possible chance of recovery,” she says. “There are life-saving treatments available but they are only effective if people act fast.”

The National Stroke Foundation’s FAST program helps you spot the initial signs of a stroke:

  • Facial weakness. Check the person’s face: has their mouth drooped?
  • Arm weakness. Can they lift both arms?
  • Speech difficulty. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 immediately.

preventing a stroke

According to the National Stroke Foundation, there are some steps you can take to lower the risk of stroke. These include:

  • Managing risk factors such as an irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. See to your doctor for a diagnosis.
  • Eating a balanced diet especially one that is low in saturated fat and salt. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is recommended and avoiding processed or canned foods as they can be high in sodium/salt.
  • Keeping active. People who participate in moderate activity are less likely to have a stroke. Try and build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
  • Quitting smoking. Smoking can increases your risk of stroke by increasing blood pressure and reducing oxygen in the blood. Seek advice on how you can quit smoking as soon as possible by calling the QUIT line on 13 18 48 •
  • Limiting alcohol. Your risk of stroke can be reduced with moderate alcohol intake (1-2 glasses a day). However, excessive amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke

insurance cover for strokes and other traumas

If the worst happens and you suffer a stroke, it will take a while to recover, during which time you will need to meet your usual financial obligations as well as cover the cost of recovery.

Insurance cover can help your family cope financially if you suffer from a stroke or other serious trauma. Trauma insurance payments can cover specialist medical attention, home modifications and repayment of debts (such as a mortgage).

An ipac adviser can help you determine the level of cover you need to protect your family financially. Click here to contact us for a confidential discussion about your personal circumstances.

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2006. Australia’s Health 2006.  ** AG Thrift (personal communication). Estimates obtained using NEMESIS data (assuming no change in incidence), and Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates of a changing population.