A new survey conducted by The Stroke Foundation has revealed that New South Wales residents living outside of Greater Sydney have better knowledge when it comes to identifying the most common signs of stroke. The survey discovered that 42 per cent of participants in the rest of New South Wales knew at least two of the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke. In comparison, that figure was 24 per cent for metro participants.

Stroke Foundation NSW State Manager Rhian Paton Kelly believes that Stroke is always a medical emergency and that when it strikes, there is no time to lose. 

“Around 1.9 million brain cells can die every minute. Prompt medical treatment can stop this damage,” she said.

“Work needs to be done to ensure people across the state learn, and can benefit from, this vital message which can help save lives.”

Having the knowledge in recognising a stroke, will mean that a person, often a loved one, will receive the medical help they require swiftly. 

The signs of a stroke can be recognized by remembering the acronym F.A.S.T.

  • Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? 
  • Arms: Can they lift both arms? 
  • Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? 
  • Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) straight away. 

Other signs of a stroke 

The following signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination:

· Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body

· Difficulty speaking or understanding

· Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall

· Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes

· Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches

· Difficulty swallowing

What to do whilst waiting for an ambulance

· Lay a conscious person on their side. Be sure to slightly raise and support their head. If they are unconscious, check their breathing and pulse, turn them on their side and if they do not have a pulse or are not breathing, start CPR straight away. If you are unsure how to perform CPR, the ambulance call taker will give instructions over the phone.

· Never give them food or drink.

· Breathing difficulties could potentially occur so loosen their clothing. 

· Support any limbs that the person says are feeling weak.

It is estimated almost 9,000 people in New South Wales will have a stroke this year for the first time.