Strokes affect thousands of New Zealanders each year.  With stroke week NZ coming up – 1st-6th of October 2019, we want you to know the top 3 fast facts – to lower your risk.

The first thing you need to know is that a stroke is a medical emergency. They occur when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked.  This means you should seek medical help as soon as possible

Fast Facts – Top 3 ways to reduce your stroke risk?

  • 1stBlood pressure control  – be in the know and keep it low

Detecting and controlling high blood pressure is the single biggest cause of avoidable strokes.

In a nutshell, high blood pressure puts too much pressure and stress on the walls of blood vessels and increases the risk of both bleeds and blood clots. A person with high blood pressure is up to seven times more likely to have a stroke than someone with normal or low blood pressure.  Many New Zealanders don’t know they have high blood pressure, but it’s easily detected and treated.  This month the stroke foundation NZ are offering free blood pressure checks, click here to find out where.

  • 2nd  – reduce your daily salt intake

Most New Zealanders eat too much salt, without realising it. This can lead to high blood pressure.

How much salt should you eat each day?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a daily salt intake of between three to six grams (six grams is about one teaspoon). New Zealanders consume an average of nine grams of salt a day. To learn more about salt click here.

Is there a difference between salt and sodium?

Salt is made from the minerals sodium and chloride. Around 40 per cent of salt is sodium and 60 per cent is chloride. The body needs some sodium but too much can harm our health.

What exactly is a stroke?  A strokeis when the brain does not receive enough oxygen because the blood supply becomes blocked – causing brain cells to die.

  • 3rd  – Lose weight

Obesity, can lead to raised blood pressure and diabetes, which can lead to increasing yr stroke risk.

What are the most common symptoms of a stroke?

  • Trouble walking, speaking or swallowing.
  • Paralysis, weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg.
  • Persistent, painful headache.
  • Blurred or loss of vision.
  • Altered sensations.

There three types of strokes

  1. Mini-strokes – or TIAs (similar symptoms to a stroke, however most patients fully recover within a few minutes or an hour).
  2. Ischemic stroke (the most common type)
  3. Hemorrhagic stroke

Our two vascular surgeons, Dr Lupe Taumeopeau and Mr.JK Wicks offer tertiary treatments for strokes, this means either medical and surgical options for treating and/or preventing further strokes.

Both surgeons recommend you follow the stroke foundations guidelines  – to know risk factors, preventing strokes.

If you think you or someone you know is suffering a stroke, call 111 immediately.  Know the signs – think FAST