The Stroke Foundation has released startling new figures showing the widespread impact of stroke on communities across Cowper and Lyne.
According to the figures there were 255 Cowper residents who suffered strokes in 2020 - 144 males and 111 females.
In Lyne the figures are slightly lower - 231 - 130 males and 101 females.
The number of people living with stroke in Cowper through 2020 is 4430 compared with 4014 in Lyne.
Significantly, the number of people living with stroke risk factors is high.
In Cowper there are 37,067 residents with high blood pressure; 4142 with irregular heartbeat; 22,137 with high cholesterol; 17,754 smokers, 93,694 with obesity and 23,416 recorded for physical inactivity.
In Lyne the comparative figures are 33,702, 3755, 20,068, 16,303, 85,675 and 21,327.
The Stroke Foundation says these figures represent the number of people in the federal electorate division living with each of four known risk factors for stroke.
Around 4.7 million Australians have high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for stroke.
A report released in November has found thousands of lives and billions of dollars could be saved annually by preventing stroke and improving access to treatment and care.
The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2020 found the economic impact of stroke nationally was a shocking $6.2 billion in direct financial costs and a further $26 billion in premature mortality and lost wellbeing (short and long-term disability).
Stroke Foundation research advisory committee chair Professor Amanda Thrift said this year alone more than 27,000 Australians would experience stroke for the first time in their lives.
A total of 9000 of these were estimated to be New South Wales (NSW) residents.
"Stroke has long been recognised as being among the costliest disease groups, and while it is not the death sentence it once was for many, it is a leading cause of disability in this country," Prof Thrift said.
"The report demonstrates the magnitude of stroke's impact today, its potential impact moving forward, as well as the opportunities and value in investing to help Australians avoid, survive and recover from stroke."
Professor Thrift says new services along with continued community education is realising change.
"The new NSW Telestroke Service, and supporting F.A.S.T. (Face. Arms. Speech. Time) community education, is improving access to emergency stroke treatment for our regional communities, but there is more to be done.
"The national strategic action plan for heart disease and stroke provides a roadmap of evidence-based interventions to address stroke, many of which have been modelled in this report.
"We have an opportunity to act now to change the course of this disease for generations to come.
"I look forward to working with governments to implement the action plan.
"It is an investment we can, and must, make for the health and wellbeing of our community," she said.
Also making news:
Thank you for valuing local journalism with your subscription. While you're with us, you can also receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.