A stroke is when blood can’t get to all parts of your brain. Stroke is a serious problem in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience stroke. It can cause many disabilities, and sometimes death. Smoking, diabetes and unhealthy diets are just some of the risk factors for stroke.
Joe is a survivor of stroke, and proud Kooma man.
'I had my first stroke when I was in my early 50’s, in a supermarket of all places… I was lucky that I knew the signs of stroke, so I sat down on the floor and told my workmate to call triple zero. I was taken to hospital quickly, which saved me from further damage.
'Looking back, there is always good and bad in life after stroke. It has been a hard road to recovery at times. After my first stroke I lost a lot of my independence and positivity… I needed help to walk, I had some very dark days.
'I’ve given a few talks about my stroke experience to the community to spread awareness of the signs. When people ask for advice, I always say:
- Quit smoking, keep your stress levels down, drink in moderation.
- Have your health check-ups, listen to your doctors, and take your medication.
- Ask for help. It is always available.'
Visit the Stroke Foundation website to read more stories from stroke survivors like Joe, and to download a booklet on the stroke journey to find information about strokes, the treatments, and how you can look after your health.
MBS 715 health check-ups are available for free once a year to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Talk to your health care worker to organise a health check.