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FAST action to prevent stroke in older Australians.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services

Wednesday 29 October 2008

FAST action to prevent stroke in older Australians Nearly two million older Australians will receive a wallet card that could save their life or help someone they know, the Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, said today - World Stroke Day.

Pensioners will find a FAST wallet card when they open Centrelink’s News for Seniors magazine. The card spells out how to recognise the signs of stroke and what to do.

FAST is the National Stroke Foundation’s awareness campaign message and stands for: Facial weakness Arm weakness

Speech difficulties Time to act FAST and call 000

“This public health message is important to everyone - especially older Australians who are at a greater risk of having a stroke,” said Senator Ludwig.

“The FAST wallet cards with the News for Seniors inserts means the message is reaching more than three million Australians.”

“News for Seniors also tells readers about potential risk factors for stroke.”

Stroke is Australia’s second biggest killer and a leading cause of disability. This year Australians will suffer a stroke every 10 minutes.

National Stroke Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor, said today all Australians need to be able to recognise the signs of stroke and know what to do.

“Even people who may not be at risk themselves can still help a friend or family member experiencing the signs of stroke.”

“Calling an ambulance as soon as the signs of a stroke are recognised could mean the difference between death, disability or a full recovery,” Dr Lalor said.

The Foundation’s campaign to distribute free FAST wallet cards was sparked by research indicating that at least 1.3 million people don’t know any signs of stroke.

For more information about stroke go to

Media contacts Minister Ludwig: Joe Scavo 0413 800 757 National Stroke Foundation: Kellie Furey 0415 563 811