October 29th is the world stroke day, on this occasion a medical expert at Mediclinic Parkview gives readers some helpful information about stroke...
31 October 2019| Last updated on 4 November 2019
- Do you know someone who had a stroke and his or her life has changed since then?
- Do you ever wonder if this stroke could have been prevented?
- Do you know what the symptoms of stroke are?
- Do you know what should you do when you suspect someone is having symptoms of stroke?
"As a stroke neurologist, I strongly believe that educating the public is the key to a healthy society, whether it is related to stroke, cardiovascular disease or other disease."
As our population is getting older, we are seeing more and more strokes. We as a society have to be ready to recognize the symptoms of stroke and take the proper action immediately. Do not forget that “time is brain”.
I would like the reader to learn 3 simple facts: what can we do 1 - before, 2 - during and 3 - after having a stroke.
Before: How do I protect myself and my loved ones from having a stroke?
Be aware of the modifiable risk factors for strokes, uncontrolled hypertension is the strongest factor predisposing to stroke, followed by physician inactivity, high cholesterol, smoking and finally diabetes.
If you are above 40 years old, get regular checkup for you blood sugar, and blood pressure at least once a year, eat healthy, exercise and do not smoke! And remember, hypertension is the “silent killer”, keep in mind that high blood pressure may not cause you to have headache or other symptoms, however, it is causing chronic damage to your blood vessels, heart and brain.
During: What are the symptoms of stroke and what should I do when I suspect someone is having a stroke?
Learning how to recognize a stroke is just as important as reducing your risk factors,” says Robyn Moore, CEO of the National Stroke Association. “We know that recognition of stroke symptoms leads to receiving medical attention faster, which results in better outcomes. Knowing the signs of stroke, how to prevent it, and how to help others around you, just might save a life.”
The acronym FAST is an easy way to identify the most common symptoms of a stroke:
- F for Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- A for Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S for Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech slurred?
- T for Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 999 immediately.
After a person suffers from a stroke:
The patient and their families will need to have ongoing connection with their stroke doctor, physiotherapist and nutritionist. No one can do it alone, do not feel shy to ask questions and ask for help. We are here for you.
Around 80 million people living in the world today have experienced a stroke and over 50 million stroke survivors live with some form of permanent disability as a result. While for many, life after stroke won’t be quite the same, with the right care and support living a meaningful life is still possible.
A common misconception is that strokes occur only in older adults. Although, your stroke risk increases with age, a stroke can happen to anyone at any time. About 15% of ischemic strokes occur in young adults and adolescents.
The need for public awareness surrounding stroke prevention and awareness has never been greater.
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Authored by Fatmah Al Zahmi, MD
Neurology Consultant | Vascular and Neuromuscular Neurologist
Mediclinic Parkview Hospital
Fatmah Al Zahmi, MD