Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a new campaign to help New Zealanders recognise the signs of a stroke is being launched in Waikato today.
“Every day around 24 New Zealanders have a stroke, and a quarter occur in people under 65. High blood pressure and smoking put people at higher risk, but early detection and effective control of risk factors can greatly reduce the chance of a stroke,” says Dr Coleman.
The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand’s FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) campaign encourages New Zealanders to learn what to look for and act fast by calling 111 if they suspect someone is having a stroke.
Key signs include a droopy smile, weakness on one side when arms are raised and slurred speech or inability to speak. It is estimated only 1 in 10 New Zealanders know the three main signs of a stroke and 1 in 3 cannot name any symptoms at all.
“It is vital to get help for a person suffering a stroke quickly, because the sooner medical treatment begins, the more likely brain damage can be reduced,” says Dr Coleman.
The FAST campaign in Waikato is funded by the Ministry of Health and will run on television, radio and online from today to 30 November 2014. There will also be community events throughout the region. If the campaign is a success, it may be extended to other regions.
Today’s campaign launch is being held at the combined stroke unit at Waikato DHB’s new Older Persons and Rehabilitation Building which has state of the art facilities for both acute stroke patients and patients who require assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.
More information on the FAST campaign can be found at the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand website www.stroke.org.nz/FAST
FAST stroke campaign
Media contact: Kirsty Taylor-Doig 021 838 372
The campaign was launched in the combined stroke unit at Waikato District Health Board’s new Older Persons and Rehabilitation Building in Hamilton which has state-of-the-art facilities for both acute stroke patients and those stroke patients requiring assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.