Stroke Awareness Week 9-15 September 2013
The Stroke Foundation is trying to reach as many people as possible with the FAST stroke recognition message. At least
one third of New Zealanders can’t recognise even one sign of stroke. Only about 1 in 10 people can recognise three
correct signs of stroke. We need to change that to make sure that as many people as possible with stroke reach hospital
in time to be assessed and receive potentially lifesaving treatment.
We would like to help you create a feature for Stroke Awareness Week to bring home the scale and significance of stroke
in our communities. We can help find stroke survivors willing to talk to you about their experience and specialists who
can explain how to recognise a stroke and how to reduce your risk of stroke.
Stroke is New Zealand's third biggest killer, and one of the highest consumers of hospital beds, services and community
support in the country, yet it receives a fraction of the profile and support given to other medical conditions. We need
to bring the FAST message to the people of New Zealand to reduce this burden. If there is anything we can do to help you
create a topical and thought-provoking piece on stroke, please get in touch.
Notes to editors:
Research has shown that a third of New Zealanders are unable to recognise a single symptom of stroke. A further one in
four can only recognise one symptom. Fewer than one in ten Kiwis are capable of naming three symptoms.
By learning the simple FAST symptom check, however, you could easily remember three of the main symptoms and help to
save a life.
FAST stands for Face Arms Speech Time:
Face – Look at the person’s face and ask them to try and smile; is one side drooping?
Arms – Ask them to raise both arms; is one side weak?
Speech – Ask them to say something simple; are they unable to speak or are the words jumbled or slurred?
Time – Time to act fast and call 111. Time lost may mean brain lost.
By memorising this simple symptom check everyone should be able to recognise a stroke, and by getting the person to a
hospital as quickly as possible you can help reduce the unnecessary toll of death and disability.
STROKE FACTS AND FIGURES
• Stroke is the third largest killer in New Zealand after heart disease and cancer.
• Each year around 9000 people have a stroke – that’s around 24 New Zealanders every day.
• A quarter of strokes happen to people younger than 65.
• Each year, more than 2500 people die from stroke.
• Disabilities from stroke make it one of the highest consumers of hospital beds, services and community support in this
• There are an estimated 60,000 stroke survivors in New Zealand, many of whom have disability and need significant daily
• A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain, causing brain cell damage. Basically, it is a brain
• Delayed recognition of a stroke means delayed medical intervention – which can have tragic consequences, including
further damage to the brain or death.
• Stroke can be treated – up to half of all stroke cases could be treated if they arrive within three hours of the
stroke’s onset at a hospital where they can be scanned and given clot-busting drugs.
For more information on stroke see www.stroke.org.nz