The increasing incidence of stroke in South Africa. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in South Africa (after heart disease and cancer), and the leading cause of adult disability. Between 13% and 30% of young adult stroke patients 15-49 years. Yet the myth remains that stroke is “just a sick old man.”
Prof Vivian Fritz, chairman of the South African Stroke Foundation (SASF), said that stroke awareness among both the public and the medical fraternity is very low, exacerbating the effects of the disease.
“We have a horrendously high rate of death due to stroke, which is a direct result of the lack of awareness of the risk factors that can lead to stroke. In addition, many people ignore the warning signs and symptoms of stroke, and wait too long before seeking treatment, “said Prof Fritz.
South African Guidelines for Stroke stroke that describes as the “Cinderella” of the major health problems in South Africa. Historically, the disease is not treated as an independent health problems despite the fact that it causes:
Between 8% and 10% of all deaths reported in the country,
7.5% of deaths in the labor force (25-64 years),
Age-standard mortality rate of 125-175 per 100 000 patients.
Stroke is determined
Stroke is the result of a bleed or a clot in a blood vessel in the brain. The cause of stroke is very similar to a heart attack, leading neurologists and other medical specialists working in the field refer to stroke as a “brain attack”.
Up to a third of all acute stroke. A previous stroke or TIA is one of the most important risk factor of stroke. “It’s important that we identify the cause (s) of TIA or stroke with each patient to prevent a second stroke. This is obviously much easier to target patients who had a stroke and recovered (secondary prevention) rather than targeting the entire population (primary prevention), “said Prof. Fritz. He added that all the risk factors, especially embolic sources, such as atrial fibrillation or carotid artery stenosis tight, should be identified and treated patients showed good recovery from stroke.
Some risk factors can be modified, others are not.
Familial history of stroke
Obesity (Body Mass Index (BMI)> 25: BMI = mass (kg) divided by the square of the length (m2))
Lack of exercise
Poor nutrition (diet high in fat and salt)
Drugs (alcohol, cocaine, heroin)
Dr Wiebren Duim, a neurologist in private practice in Pretoria, emphasizing the devastating effects of a stroke when showing how important it is for individuals to take control of their health and monitor potential risk factors.
Of the patients who survive a stroke:
12% -18% do not speak properly
22% can not run
32% are clinically depressed
48% paralyzed on one side of their body, and
24% -53% will suffer a complete or partial dependence on their families and carers
However, the risk of stroke may have been minimized, taking into account risk factors, seek medical help right and live a healthy lifestyle.
“Stroke improved since we live a kind of unhealthy lifestyle. If you want to reduce your risk of stroke, blood pressure monitor to prevent hypertension, stop smoking, lose weight, eat healthy foods, and walk to the corner cafe of the trips. This is especially important if you are over 40 years your blood pressure checked every six months, “said Dr. Duim.
There are five main warning signs that indicate you’re having a stroke:
Sudden weakness or numbness in the arms, face, or leg on one or both sides of the body
Sudden blurred or decreased vision, particularly in one eye, or double vision
Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls
Time is of the essence
Another stroke mythology around with nothing that could be done about it, that once you had a stroke, you can do except suffer the consequences. Not true.
Dr Duim emphasized that time is the most important element in treating stroke: “Do not ask your mother or your best friend or someone on the street for their opinion. If you experience any of the warning symptoms, in a hospital with a stroke unit immediately. Treatment within the first three hours significantly reduced the area of brain tissue that is damaged in the attack, which could have a major impact on whether you will learn to walk again, to speak properly again. In short, previously considered, the better your chances for recovery. ‘
Both Fritz and Prof. Dr. Duim emphasized that proper care and attention to make a significant difference to the survival and recovery of the patient. Most admitted Stroke Stroke Unit, where a medical team familiar with the symptoms and treatment of disease needs. “Proper treatment depends on knowledge. For example, a patient’s blood pressure rose to a stroke, but it is important not to try to lower blood pressure immediately. Hypertension control should only began about three weeks after the stroke, “said Prof. Fritz.
Prof. Fritz adds that it is important for stroke patients and their families to approach everything positive and do the rehabilitation to do. “A third of all stroke patients recover completely and much more to resume normal daily activities. Might expect after a stroke, “he said.