Rural and Remote Stroke Risk: Staggering 19% increase risk of stroke for people living in rural and remote areas
People living in country areas, in the rural and remote regions have a frightening and staggering 19% increase in having a stroke declared in a statement today by the Stroke Foundation on ABC news. This is said to be due to the poorer health and well being of people living in these areas. They often have:
- blood pressure
- obesity levels
- physical activity levels
- health literacy
- access to adequate medical services
These combination of increased risk factors and reduced health and lifestyle factors have contributed significantly to this increased incidence of stroke in rural and remote areas.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is when the supply of blood to your brain is reduced or interrupted, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, the brain tissue starts to die.
It is a medical emergency – a time critical event. Every minute saved means more of your brain saved. It is very treatable with good outcomes if acted upon quickly. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented but we need to recognise the signs and reduce our risk factors.
What are signs of stroke?
FAST is an acronym that can help detect and enhance our responsiveness to stroke
F: face drop
A: arm weakness
S: speech is slurred
T:time to act
If you have any of these initial symptoms, it is imperative you call an ambulance on 000 straight away.
Australia has one of the best retrieval services on the world for stroke, with a response team connected 24 hours a day. However, in the rural and remote areas, the response to an ambulance can be much slower leading to much poorer outcomes when prompt treatment is crucial.
How can we prevent stroke?
The good news is that 80% of strokes can be prevented. By changing our lifestyle and improving our dietary eating habits such reducing our consumption of fats and increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables, we can go a long way to prevention. Quitting smoking, limiting our alcohol consumption and increasing our physical activity are also essential in reducing of risk factors.
We can also ensure that if we have medical risk factors such as atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, that they are well managed. Ensuring we have adequate visits to manage these conditions with our GPs is an essential part of good stroke prevention.
It is very important that also manage our weight. Here at Medical & Mind Weight Loss, we offer online medical weight loss programs that can be done in rural and remote areas, in the comfort of your home and in your own time. These programs were especially created for people who do not want to travel and want to have a consultation replicated in an online format.
For more information on strokes, the Stroke Foundation has some excellent resources. Remember, act quick, as every minute saved, is your brain saved.