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Frontline health workers and everyday Australians who respond quickly to the first signs of stroke are being celebrated during National Stoke Week 2021 (2-8 August).

When these groups work together, Stroke Foundation CEO Sharon McGowan says lives can be saved and disability caused by stroke reduced.

The individuals are all “United by Stroke”, the theme for National Stroke Week 2021, and make a profound difference to lives and improved outcomes.

“I want to thank everyone who plays a role in a stroke emergency,” Ms McGowan said.

“That includes the person who recognises a stroke and calls triple zero (000), to the call taker, the paramedics, the doctors and nurses who treat the patient and the dedicated health professionals who support their recovery.”

Stroke attacks the brain, the human control centre. According to the Stroke Foundation, more than 27,000 Australians had a stroke for the first time in 2020 – a rate of one stroke every nine minutes.

When a stroke occurs, more than 1.9 million brain cells die each minute. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.

During its annual awareness week, the Stroke Foundation is urging Australians to learn and share the most common signs of stroke, F.A.S.T.

Anyone can keep a lookout for these signs of a stroke:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth dropped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) straight away.

Stroke can happen to anyone at any time, Ms McGowan said.

“You never know when you, a loved one, a friend or a colleague will have a stroke and will need help.

“It’s simple. Acting F.A.S.T. can save lives. We can have the best health professionals and treatments, but you must get to hospital first to access them. Time saved equals brain saved.”

The Stroke Foundations is encouraging at least one person from every household and workplace in Australia to know the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke and call for help immediately.

National Stroke Week presents a chance for survivors of stroke to thank the health professionals who treated and cared for them and their F.A.S.T. hero on social media using #strokeweek2021.

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