Health Minister Tanya Plibersek on Monday announced $2 million would be spent on a campaign to raise awareness.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek on Monday announced $2 million would be spent on a campaign to raise awareness. Marc Stapelberg

$2m campaign to raise awareness on identifying strokes

DESPITE strokes being the second largest killer of Australians every year, most victims don't even know they are having one until they get to the hospital.

To help identify the signs of a stroke, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek on Monday announced $2 million would be spent on a campaign to raise awareness.

The money will go to the National Stroke Foundation, for advertisements on television, radio, in print and online over the next 12 months.

It will help people to identify the four common symptoms of a stroke, to help people get the urgent attention needed to prevent long-term damage.

Ms Plibersek said about 60% of victims did not make it to hospital in time for treatment to help their recovery and prevent lifetime disability.

"Often, that's because they were not able to recognise the symptoms of stroke. In about seven out of 10 cases, failure to act when symptoms arise is the main reason behind stroke treatment delay," she said.

Foundation chief executive Dr Erin Lalor said strokes were second only to cancer in causing death among Australians.

She said despite two-thirds of stroke victims being aged over 65, it could affect anyone of any age, and it was essential Australians recognised the symptoms.

The campaign comes after the recent listing of stroke prevention drug rivoroxaban on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, subsidising the cost of the drug to the tune of $450 million.

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Use 'FAST' to help identify a stroke:

  • Face: has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms: can they lift both?
  • Speech: is it slurred, can they understand you?
  • Time: is critical.

If you see any of these signs, ring 000 straight away.


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