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Dispelling 10 Myths about Stroke

Updated: Jun 2

Imagine you are out and about browsing through Bunnings Warehouse, then all of a sudden you see a grey curtain falling across your eyes like a final curtain call – would you know you are having a stroke!?

Imagine your partner turns to you and asks you a question…..

  • you can hear your partner

  • you can see your partner, however

  • your ability to respond is completely, utterly frozen. You are simply unable to speak – like a disconnect between the brain to the mouth.

Your partner starts to look at you inquiringly and repeat what they have said – thinking you are simply ignoring them!

First Aid  Management Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Would you know what’s happening?

Would your partner recognise the signs?

Would you just ignore this if it passed, and everything seemed to go back to normal after a couple of minutes?

This was what happened in the case of a friend of mine. Exactly that scenario, in fact a similar scenario had happened twice before, and he had ignored the tell-tale warning signs of a TIA (i.e. a mini-stroke).

What next?

What would you do?

The key to recognition and treatment is acting F.A.S.T!

Let’s dispel the 10 myths about Stroke right up front.

First Aid  Management Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Myth 1: Strokes are rare.

FACT: They are not rare at all, in fact according to the Stroke Foundation of Australia ‘there were 27,428 Australians who experienced stroke for the first time in their lives in 2020, which equates to 1 every 19 minutes! More than 445,087 Australians are living with the effects of stroke’

With obesity on the rise, it has having greater impact to more people and younger age groups than ever seen before.

First Aid Training Stroke statistics

Myth 2: Strokes only happen to people who are older/elderly

FACT: They can happen to any age group. That includes a baby, child or teen! The risks do increase with age and studies indicate the risk doubles for each decade between the age of 55 and 85. In the case of my friend, he was in his early 40’s. A dad in the UK saved his 9-month-old baby as he recognised the signs early.

Person drinking energy drinks
Stroke risks

Did you know energy drinks can actually cause a stroke?

Myth 3: Nothing can be done to prevent a stroke

FACT: Yes there is! Keep your health checks up to date (Diabetes, Cholesterol, Weight management, Blood Pressure). If you have had any seemingly strange episodes like the ones described above, you need to see your doctor and tell them about your experiences.

Review your lifestyle factors to:

  • Reduce alcohol consumption. Drinking in moderation is key.

  • Call it quits on the ciggies (and/or Vaping!)

  • Keep active

  • Choose a healthier diet

  • Give up the drug scene.

  • Reduce stress levels

Signs and symptoms of a Stroke

Myth 4: The tell-tale sign is pain

FACT: Pain is not a sole determining factor. As you can see in the case of my friend, pain was not a symptom. You may experience a headache with an ischemic stroke, however that isn’t always the case.

Be aware of the common symptoms.

They include:

  • Weakness or numbness

  • Paralysis in the face, arm or leg (you may see one side of the face droop)

  • Difficulty speaking or understanding what is being said

  • Blackened, blurred or double vision

  • Dizziness or a loss of balance, loss of co-ordination.

  • Pain (such as a headache that may be sudden and severe - this may result in vomiting and the person falling unconscious)

Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke - First Aid Training

Myth 5: Strokes can’t be treated.

FACT: There are 3 main types

  • Ischemic stroke

  • Hemorrhagic stroke

  • Transient Ischemic attack (a warning or “mini-stroke” – this is the type my friend experienced)

Each one is a medical emergency and accessing emergency medical treatment as quickly as possible may mean the difference between death, life-long disability and being able to recover well. The longer that you wait, the more damage to the brain cells. Treatment varies and affects individuals differently, however they can be treated. The treatment provided shall depend on the type that has occurred.

Stroke Management - First Aid Training

Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke

and even prevent death.

Myth 6: A stroke takes place in the heart.

FACT: Many people think that a stroke happens in the heart, and this is one of the biggest misconceptions. It occurs when the blood supply to an area is reduced or interrupted. Your brain cells require regular blood flow and the nutrients and oxygen in the blood to survive/function. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the neurons is cut off and as a result, a blood clot or disease of the blood vessels develops causing the neurons to die.

Stroke Management

Myth 7: Strokes aren’t hereditary

FACT: There is evidence that family history may play a role in the increased risk of stroke. Typically, this more so relates to family history of high blood pressure and other related conditions that increase the risks. There are several genetic disorders though that can cause a stroke. Be sure to share information about any family history with your doctor for a full medical assessment.

Remember also that if you have had one stroke, your chances of having another remain high. A complete review of your lifestyle, diet and health management is in order. Factor in alleviating stress triggers, which also has impact to your overall health.

Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Myth 8: Strokes don’t require treatment (especially if only mild)

FACT: All strokes are a medical emergency. Acting F.A.S.T. is critical to the outcome. No matter how mild or if seemingly a quick recovery, it still requires rapid medical attention.

Call 000 in every instance.

F.A.S.T. is the acronym that is used to educate people about the signs of stroke….

F – Has their face dropped?

A - Can they lift both arms?

S – Is there speech slurred?

T – Call 000, Time is critical!

FAST Recognising the signs and symptoms of a stroke

The benefit of calling Paramedics is that they can provide the emergency support en-route to the emergency department. If you are calling 000, be sure to describe what symptoms you are seeing.

Do you notice the naming is the same as our brand? There’s no coincidence there – it's all about

F.A.S.T. first aid!

Myth 9: Smoking doesn’t increase your risk for stroke

FACT: I would like to tell you this is different; however, smoking is not only a known risk factor, it is the biggest risk factor, particularly in younger people. Now is the time to give them up. Save your health and save your dollars!

What about Vaping? That's healthier right?

I think it's time to sort out the facts from the fiction here. Vaping still presents serious health risks, including risk for strokes, lung disease and heart disease. Somewhere along the line, there has been misconception about Vaping and E-Cigarettes. If you want more information, head to Vape Truths. (also includes how to quit :)

Giving up is hard, don’t estimate just how hard. If you want support, head to Qld Health for tips and advice on how to free yourself of the habit and quit for good! If you are reading this blog and want to know how to help your loved one quit, head to ‘helping someone quit’.

Woman smoking a cigarette
Smoking risks and stroke

Myth 10: Take aspirin at the onset of stroke symptoms

FACT: If you googled this one, there is conflicting information everywhere about this! The thing is, not all are caused by blood clots, so taking aspirin could potentially make bleeding strokes more severe if the stroke was caused by ruptured blood vessels. Avoid taking aspirin at the onset of symptoms. Be guided by emergency services.

First Aid Management

Dispel the 10 myths about stroke. Recognise the signs early and act F.A.S.T. These the two key measures to make a difference.

First Aid Management for a Stroke

Download the F.A.S.T. guide for the quick tips on knowing what to do in the event of a stroke.

Attend a First Aid and CPR course at one of our public course locations in Brisbane, Ipswich or the Gold Coast LEARN MORE/BOOK NOW.

Enquire about our Workplace Onsite Training..... YES WE COME TO YOU!, Fast, Efficient and Relatable workplace training. GET A QUOTE


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