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'Wake up call': NZ stroke rates predicted to rise by 40 percent in decade

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 21/06/2018

A University of Otago study has predicted stroke rates in New Zealand will increase by 40 percent in the next 10 years, despite medical advances and public health initiatives.

Stroke costs New Zealand an estimated $700 million each year.

The study, which was released today, predicts the number of strokes will increase from about 9000 strokes per year to 12,000 strokes in the next decade.

Report author Associate Professor Anna Ranta said the current New Zealand healthcare system would struggle to cater for the projected increase.

Dr Ranta is also the Ministry of Health's National Stroke Clinical Leader and a consultant neurologist with the Capital and Coast District Health Board.

"It's a wake up call ... we can all contribute to this and it's a problem we all share," Dr Ranta said.

More planning and funding for stroke prevention, treatment and education was needed to handle the increasing rates of stroke, she said.

"The services currently in place are very much geared towards the current numbers."

All New Zealanders should be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of stroke, she said.

Better data was needed to validate the figures, Dr Ranta said.

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