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 Wimmera Health Care Group is using Stroke Week to highlight ways to reduce the risk of stroke.

 The organisation’s stroke care co-ordinator Jarrod Hunter said prevention of strokes was a topic not often discussed but he hoped people took the time during Stroke Week, from September 4 to 10, to educate themselves.

 "A major factor in preventing strokes is a healthy lifestyle," Mr Hunter said.

 "So that includes not smoking, doing regular exercise, blood pressure control, glucose and cholesterol management and an overall healthy diet.

 "These are things people can do to reduce their risk of stroke."

 Mr Hunter will be doing free mini health tests during Stroke Week in the main foyer at Wimmera Base Hospital from 10am to 12pm from Monday to Wednesday.

 Mr Hunter said he wanted to reinforce the recognition of stroke through the FAST technique

 "FAST stands for face, arms, speech and time. So has their face dropped? Can they lift both arms? Is their speech slurred and do they understand you? If you see any of these symptoms call 000 immediately because time is a critical factor in treating strokes," he said.

Wimmera Health Care Group is part of the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine (VST) Program which uses telemedicine to connect the Wimmera Base Hospital Emergency Department with neurologists in Melbourne to be able to diagnose patients faster and with greater accuracy.

Following on from the success of the VST Program, Mr Hunter was employed as a stroke care co-ordinator to ensure stroke patients and carers and family had appropriate follow-up care.

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