Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability. Unfortunately there are still some common misconceptions surrounding strokes that are a source of confusion.
Only the elderly can have a stroke
Many people believe that strokes only occur in the elderly, but this is incorrect. While older people are at a higher risk, almost one in five people who experience a stroke are under the age of 55.
You can’t prevent a stroke from occurring
People do have the capability of reducing certain risk factors that can cause a stroke, as more than 80% of strokes can be prevented.
Incorporating the following changes into your life may help prevent a stroke:
– Controlling high blood pressure
– Maintaining a healthy weight through physical exercise
– Reducing saturated fat and increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables
– Reducing alcohol intake
Strokes are rare
Stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostrate cancer. In 2017 there were more than 56,000 new and recurrent strokes; that’s one stroke every nine minutes. These statistics show that strokes are extremely common, and symptoms should be taken seriously.
Smoking doesn’t affect your chances of having a stroke
People who smoke are almost twice as likely to have a stroke than someone who has never smoked. The chemicals from cigarette smoke can affect the consistency of your blood, making it thicker and more likely to form blood clots. According to an aptly titled study called The More You Smoke the More You Stroke, researchers concluded that those who stopped smoking decreased their risk of stroke; fifteen years of after quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease and stroke is similar to that of a person who has never smoked.
Strokes are painful
Many people who experience a stroke do not feel any pain. Symptoms can range from drooping on one side of the face to vision problems, dizziness and speech difficulties. As pain may not be associated with these symptoms, people can be more inclined to dismiss them as a serious indicator and refrain from seeking the help they need.
Want to know more?
Head in-store to your local Blooms The Chemist for a quick Stroke Risk Assessment which can help you understand your risk factors and stroke prevention. Should your pharmacist consider you to have significant risk factors, you will be advised to seek prompt medical advice. Written results will be provided to allow you to share this with your doctor.
National Stroke Week is from September 2 to 8, find out how you can help here.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/table-of-contents
 Better Health. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/stroke-risk-factors-and-prevention
[3,4,5] Stroke Foundation. https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Facts-and-figures-about-stroke
 Stroke Association. https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/smoking_and_the_risk_of_stroke.pdf
 IARC. IARC Handbooks of cancer prevention, Tobacco Control, Vol. 11: Reversal of risk after
quitting smoking. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2007.