Strokes hit more men than women

RIGHT: Advanced life support paramedic Shane Green is reminding Indi and Farrer residents of the warning signs of stroke, such as high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

STROKES will strike more than 700 people in the Border’s federal electorates this year, according to ground-breaking data.

Statistics collected by the National Stroke Foundation project that 371 people will suffer a stroke in Indi, which includes Benalla, Wangaratta and Wodonga, and 397 in Farrer, which covers Albury, Broken Hill, Corowa and Deniliquin.

The victims will be more men than women, with 200 in Indi and 216 in Farrer.

The data also highlights the number of residents who have survived a stroke — 3137 (1778 men and 1359 women) in Indi and 3351 (1916 men and 1435 women) in Farrer.

Foundation chief executive, Dr Erin Lalor, said one Australian suffered a stroke every 10 minutes and she hoped the information would allow better targeting of resources.

“By ranking electorates we can understand where the impact is greatest,” Dr Lalor said.

“While this ranking can help with service planning and co-ordination, our report demonstrates that the burden of stroke is significant in all parts of the country.”

The Indi data also showed 20per cent of residents had high blood pressure, one of the key triggers for strokes.

Dr Lalor said the federal government had to do more to tackle the issue.

“Despite successive governments recognising stroke is a national health priority, Australia does not have a federally funded strategy or the care services to address this widespread need,” Dr Lalor said.

But the federal assistant health minister Fiona Nash defended the government’s record on stroke support.

She said $2billion was spent subsidising cardiovascular machines and funding was provided for research to the National Health and Medical Research Council.

“The good news is the number of stroke deaths per 100,000 Australians has been falling over three decades,” Senator Nash said.

“However, stroke still kills thousands of people each year and cerebro- vascular disease — most notably stroke — is the second most common underlying cause of death for Australians.”

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