Lifestyle key to stroke rate

THE Mallee region has the second highest stroke rate in Victoria, according to a new report.

NO SURPRISE: Stroke co-ordinator Jo Cottrell says Sunraysia’s ageing population and high obesity  rate most likely contributed to the region’s high stroke rate.

NO SURPRISE: Stroke co-ordinator Jo Cottrell says Sunraysia’s ageing population and high obesity rate most likely contributed to the region’s high stroke rate.

The latest National Stroke Foundation report reveals there are 2380 stroke survivors per 100,000 people living in the electorate, mostly over the age of 70.

It puts the region alarmingly at second highest, just behind Flinders, which has 2491 stroke survivors per 100,000 people.

The Stroke in Australia: No Postcode Untouched report predicts 407 people will suffer a stroke in the Mallee electorate this year.

Stroke co-ordinator at Mildura Base Hospital Jo Cottrell said the figures were not surprising, with an Acute Stroke Unit set up in 2012 to help meet demand.

She said about 100 stroke victims presented to the hospital each year.

“For about four years we’ve been working really hard looking at our stroke figures in this region and doing work to improve services because of the number of strokes that we see up here,” Ms Cottrell said.

“The improvements we’ve made have made a huge improvement to the outcome of stroke patients up here.”

She said Sunraysia’s ageing population and high obesity rate most likely contributed to the region’s high stroke rate.

Obesity, diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease and general poor health were risk factors for stroke.

In the past, a majority of local stroke patients were forced to transfer to a larger city to manage their condition.

“Now we have the capabilities to keep a lot more of them in Mildura which is much better for them to be close to their family and friends,” Ms Cottrell said.

The Acute Stroke Unit has a team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians and social workers.

“We always would like to be able to do more,” Ms Cottrell said.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Wednesday's Sunraysia Daily 16/07/2014.

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