At a healthy lifestyle seminar in Dunedin yesterday were
(from left) Stroke Foundation community stroke adviser
Judith Hyslop and community administrator Liz Martin. Photo
by Craig Baxter.
A healthy lifestyle Stroke Foundation seminar in Dunedin
yesterday coincided with the release of a ground-breaking study
that shows a 25% global increase in the number of stroke cases
among people aged 20 to 64 in the past two decades.
Stroke Foundation community stroke adviser Judith Hyslop said
the seminar aimed to promote a healthy lifestyle to reduce
the risk of stroke.
In New Zealand, 24 people a day had a stroke, she said.
''What frightens us is that 25% of people experiencing stroke
[in New Zealand] are under 65 years old,'' she said, hence
the reason for the healthy lifestyles theme.
Foundation Southern general manager Neil McIntosh, of
Christchurch, said about 9000 people had a stroke in New
Zealand each year and a third of those died at the time of
The study findings, published yesterday in medical journal
The Lancet, come from the first comprehensive and comparable
analysis of the regional and country-specific burden of the
killer condition, traditionally associated with old age,
between 1990 and 2010.
The Global Burden of Disease Study's lead author, Prof Valery
Feigin, director of the National Institute for Stroke and
Applied Neurosciences at AUT University, said the worldwide
stroke burden was growing fast.
''There is now an urgent need for culturally acceptable and
affordable stroke prevention, management and rehabilitation
strategies to be developed and implemented worldwide,'' he
''This is the first study to compare incidence and impacts of
stroke between countries on a global scale.
''Now every country in the world has estimates of their
stroke burden, based on the best available evidence.''
For New Zealand, the results are a mixed bag.
The number of Kiwis dying of strokes has halved in the past
20 years, matching trends in most other developed countries.
Stroke survival had also jumped, by 82%, due to better acute
But it came at a cost, Prof Feigin said, given that 75% of
stroke survivors required rehabilitation services, which were
already under a heavy strain.
''Stroke remains the No 3 cause of death for New
Zealanders,'' he said.
The seminar, attended by about 50 people, was the first of
many the newly streamlined foundation had planned for the
South Island, Mr McIntosh said.
A new foundation organisation structure was launched in July,
The foundation was more than 30 years old and had been
divided into four regions across New Zealand.
That structure was ''terrible'' for fundraising and
sponsorship gathering, so services such as banking and
payroll had been amalgamated, he said.
''Together, we can do so much more for the stroke
The foundation was working on a 20-year-plan, he said.
''Stroke will always be there.''
- additional reporting APNZ