Strokes have a significant impact on the life expectancy and quality of life of many New Zealanders and they cost the country approximately $1.1 billion each year, according to the Stroke Foundation. It’s expected that the economic impacts of strokes will continue to rise over the next few decades as well as the population ages.
Research has forecasted a 40 percent rise in the number of strokes each year in New Zealand over the course of the next decade, in fact in recent years there has already been a substantial rise in the number of strokes. Thousands of New Zealander’s experience the condition each year and right now there is not much being done to help prevent strokes from happening. Strokes can be a preventable condition, if the right steps are taken and research in New Zealand has suggest that around 75 percent of the cases of stroke could be prevented and yet very little is being done about education and prevention. Each year the New Zealand government spends under three percent of its healh budget on stroke-related prevention measures and services. The country’s Stroke Foundation focuses considerably more of their budget on prevention servives and hopes to see the government up its budget to reflect the social and economic toll that strokes are having on the country.
People who experience high blood pressure are considered high risk for experiencing a stroke and there are preventative steps that can be taken to help prevent high blood pressure sufferers from experience a stroke. The Stroke Foundation conducted 24,000 free blood pressure checks on Kiwi’s to help to and prevent stroke. Of the people who were checked, about one percent received an immediate referral for follow up due to their risk of stroke. This preventative step is estimated to have saved around $2.25 million in health costs.
The Stroke Foundation, which receives no government funding, estimates they could save New Zealand $10 million a year in health costs if they had enough funding to perfrom 50,000 free blood pressure tests a year.