Hervey Bay, northern NSW named stroke 'hotspots'

HERVEY Bay and the north coast of New South Wales have topped a list of "stroke hotspots".

The Stroke Foundation report, released on Monday, found nearly one million Australians would be living with the health effects of strokes by 2050.

And while more older people are affected by strokes each year, they can affect people of all ages.

Hervey Bay and the NSW electorates of Lyne and Richmond were two of the most affected regions.

But the number of stroke victims in the Sunshine Coast is also on the rise with the electorates of Fairfax and Fisher in the top 10 regions for stroke.

Stroke Foundation chief executive Dr Erin Lalor said the number of strokes were set to increase from about 50,000 this year to 130,000 by 2050.

But she said the "stroke challenge" had been largely ignored by successive federal governments.

"Of the stroke survivors in Australia, two-thirds suffer from a disability and an even greater number live with unmet need," she said.

"Half of all stroke patients get discharged from hospital without an ongoing care plan and many are left to suffer in silence as there is no system in place to follow patients up and check on their stroke recovery," she said.

Although strokes were identified in 1996 as a national priority, the issue has not been given dedicated budget funding since.

Dr Lalor called on the Abbott government to address the situation and provide "proven, national action on stroke".

The foundation met with federal MPs last week.

- APN NEWSDESK



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