Over 13 million people have stroke every year and around 5.5 million people die as a result. Stroke is still the second leading cause of death worldwide, and the third leading cause of disability.
The impact of a stroke depends on which part of the brain is affected and how quickly it is treated. Stroke survivors can experience wide-ranging disabilities including difficulties with mobility and speech, as well as how they think and feel.
It is critical that the person having the stroke is treated as quickly as possible. Timely treatment saves lives and can vastly improve patient outcomes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) observes World Stroke Day on 29th October each year. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about prevention and treatment, and ensure better care and support for survivors.
The early symptoms include:
- Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion or trouble talking
- Trouble seeing
- Dizziness or trouble walking
- Severe headache
Here are a few facts:
- Stroke is leading cause of death and disability globally with 116m years of healthy life lost each year to the disease.
- It is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage and loss of function. It is most frequently caused by a clot in an artery supplying blood to the brain, a situation known as ischemia. It can also be caused by hemorrhage when a burst vessel causes blood to leak into the brain.
- It can cause permanent damage, including partial paralysis and impairment in speech, comprehension and memory. The extent and location of the damage determines the severity of the stroke, which can range from minimal to catastrophic.
- Globally 1 in 4 adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime.
- Current trends suggest that the number of annual deaths will climb to 6.7 million annually without appropriate action.
- Stroke typically affects people living in poor countries. Two out of every three victims live in low- and middle-income countries.
- The incidence of the disease increases significantly with age. There are many other risk factors, including tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, raised blood lipid levels, obesity, male gender, genetic disposition and psychological factors.