According to the Stroke Foundation, in Australia, a person will suffer a stroke every 19 minutes, and over 445,000 people are living with the effects of stroke. In fact, stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers. It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer.
Living through a stroke can be a challenging experience, impacting a person’s independence and daily life. In this blog post, we will explore the causes and risks of strokes, their impact on individuals, and some strategies to help support to stroke survivors.
Understanding Strokes: A Sudden Disruption
What causes a stroke?
Strokes are caused by the interruption or reduction of blood flow to the brain, leading to brain cell damage due to the lack of oxygen and nutrients.
There are two main types of strokes:
- Ischemic stroke (clots): Caused by a blocked blood vessel. This is the most common type of stroke.
- Hemorrhagic stroke (bleeds): Triggered by a burst blood vessel that leaks blood. The leaking blood is like a bruise that injures part of the brain.
Who is at risk of stroke?
Stroke can happen to anyone of any age, from children to the elderly, however, as we get older our risk increases. Men are at greater risk of stroke than women.
Some of the risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, being overweight, smoking, high cholesterol, a high intake of alcohol, and Type 2 diabetes.
How to prevent strokes?
80% of strokes are preventable for many people. Some of the causes are within our control and can be managed by making healthy changes to our daily life and staying on top of health conditions with regular checkups. Healthy examples include staying active, eating nutritious food and avoiding smoking and alcohol. As a guide, the recommended amount of physical activity is 2.5 hours per week.
Signs of a stroke
The F.A.S.T. test is an easy way to remember and recognise signs of stroke. F.A.S.T. stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.
- Face: Check the persons face. Are they unable to smile? Has their mouth dropped?
- Arms: Can they lift both arms?
- Speech: Is their speech slurred? Can the person understand you?
- Time: Don’t waste any time! Contact 000 immediately if you notice any of these early signs of a stroke.
While these are the main signs, other symptoms can include weakness or numbness down one side of your body, blurry vision or loss of sight, a sudden, severe headache and memory loss. These symptoms can pass after a few minutes but can indicate that a stroke is coming.
Remember, you must call for help immediately as soon as you see the signs of stroke!
The Impact of Stroke on Survivors
Physical Impairments: Stroke survivors may face physical challenges, such as paralysis, muscle weakness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.
Communication Difficulties: A stroke can affect a person’s ability to speak, read, write, and understand language.
Emotional and Cognitive Changes: Many survivors experience emotional changes like depression and anxiety, along with cognitive impairments affecting memory and decision-making.
How can Personal Alarms support stroke survivors
Personal alarms are small wearable devices equipped with a button or sensor that can be activated to call for immediate help. It is an essential tool that offers safety, security, and peace of mind to stroke survivors and their families. A monitored personal alarm in particular provides rapid response by trained professionals, so you don’t have to rely on family or friends to respond when time is critical.
A personal alarm can be especially beneficial for stroke survivors who experience challenges with balance and mobility, ongoing fatigue and anxiety. With a fully monitored alarm service like MePACS, you and your family can enjoy peace of mind and confidence, knowing that our 24/7 emergency response centre is always open, any time of the day or night.
Key Benefits for Stroke Survivors:
- Rapid Response Time: Personal alarms ensure fast responses, enabling emergency services to reach you quickly.
- Prioritised emergency response: In an emergency, we provide your medical info and relevant health history to emergency services so that they can prioritise the call and tailor their response accordingly.
- Increased Independence: With a personal alarm, you can carry out daily activities with more confidence, knowing help is readily available if needed.
- Peace of Mind for Loved Ones: Family members and caregivers gain reassurance, knowing their loved ones have access to immediate help in an emergency.
Living through a stroke can be a life-changing experience, but with support from family, friends and the health network, survivors can regain a sense of safety and independence. Embracing assisted technology like personal medical alarms can help to enhancing the wellbeing and quality of life for those who have survived a stroke.
- Can stroke survivors use a personal alarm on their own?
Yes, personal medical alarms are designed to be user-friendly and can be easily activated by stroke survivors independently. Some alarms also include a Falls Detection feature, which can automatically activate the alarm after a significant fall.
- Are personal alarms waterproof?
The MePACS home alarm and Solo watch are completely waterproof, so they can be worn in the shower, bath or swimming pool.
- Is there an age limit for using a personal alarm?
Personal alarms can be used by people of all ages who may require immediate assistance during an emergency.
- Can a personal alarm be used outside the home?
Absolutely! The MePACS Mobile Alarm and Solo watch can be used anywhere in Australia where there’s a strong 4G network signal.
- Do I need to provide my medical information?
Sharing relevant medical details about your condition is important so that we can tailor the response to your specific needs and provide it to emergency services if needed.
*This information does not intend to replace advice from a qualified health professional. Please speak to your GP first about any health concerns.