196 strokes in Robertson electorate in 2020

Brenda Booth

With new data revealing NSW is home to four of Australia’s top 20 hotspots for high blood pressure, locals across the Peninsula are being encouraged to be aware of the possibilities of strokes.

The data was released to coincide with World Hypertension Day on May 17, and to encourage people to roll up their sleeves throughout May and have a blood pressure check.

According to statistics from Stroke Foundation, almost 30,000 people in the area are living with high blood pressure.

The data also showed that 196 people in the Robertson electorate had a stroke for the first time in 2020, with more than 3200 people living with the impacts of stroke in the community.

Woy Woy local, Brenda Booth, encouraged people to regularly check their blood pressure

“Blood pressure checking is so important because it can prevent strokes … people don’t realise that,” Booth said.

“Strokes are preventable – there are some cases when it’s not, but the majority are.

“Keep a check on your blood pressure, if it is high (over 140) that’s considered high, don’t dismiss it.

“And all of the other things like not smoking, having a healthy diet and exercise … simplicity can make such a difference.”

Booth suffered a stroke at the age of 41 in 2001 and said she experienced impacts such as speech, sight and mobility in her right arm.

“I didn’t have any obvious physical disability at first, people would assume I was okay … communicating was difficult and word finding was a lot worse back then,” Booth said.

“Hidden disabilities were the biggest challenge – speech, memory and concentration.

“Stroke in itself is a life changing event, everyone faces different challenges, but the impacts are the same.

“Having a stroke doesn’t just affect the stroke survivor, it affects the entire family [so] preventing that is absolutely vital.”

Stroke Foundation New South Wales State Manager, Rhian Paton-Kelly, said blood pressure checks can save lives.

“More than 1.47 million people in New South Wales are living with high blood pressure, many unknowingly, putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk of stroke,” Paton-Kelly said.

“You may think your health is fine but high blood pressure often has no immediate symptoms.

Maisy Rae