National Stroke Foundation thanks for raising awareness in Stoke Week.

ON behalf of the National Stroke Foundation, I thank the thousands of Australians who challenged stroke by being aware and getting a health check throughout Stroke Week.

It is our annual campaign to shine the spotlight on stroke and raise awareness of the devastating impact of this insidious disease.

Stroke Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn how they can reduce their own risk of suffering a stroke. I am sure there are now thousands of people who are better informed to take control of their health.

It is vital we remember strokes do not just happen one week of the year. Every 10 minutes an Australian has a stroke. Every 10 minutes someone’s life changes forever.

Stroke is scarily common in Australia – it is a national health emergency. Last year alone Australians suffered 50,000 strokes. What many people do not know is that most strokes are preventable.

There are things we can all do to help protect ourselves, such as being aware of and managing our blood pressure, maintaining a healthy diet, stopping smoking and heavy drinking, and exercising.

Thanks to our incredible supporters, we were able to spread this message this Stroke Week, reaching a record number of Australians. Yet our work does not stop here – it is our mission to ensure everyone understands what a stroke is and what everyone can do to avoid having one.

It will take the combined efforts of the community, health professionals and government to achieve this mission. I know together we can fight stroke and win.

DR ERIN LALOR,

chief executive,

National Stroke Foundation,

Melbourne.