Every day in South Africa nearly 240 people will suffer a stroke and nearly 70 people will die as a result (Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa). Here are the facts you need to know.
What is a stroke?
Sometimes referred to as a “Brain Attack” a stroke happens when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted in one of the two carotid arteries. This causes damage and sometimes death to the affected brain cells, which can have varying consequences on the person who has suffered the stroke.
What are the signs?
Remember the acronym “FAST” when considering the signs of stroke.
F – Face drooping on one side and numbness
A – Arm weakness, usually on one side of the body
S – Speech difficulty, slurring, confusion
T – Time to call for help immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms
Other signs include dizziness, sudden loss of vision and balance and a severe headache.
How many people are affected in SA?
In South Africa, 10 people will suffer a stroke every hour! This includes young adults under the age of 45.
How can I avoid having a stroke?
The good news is that 80% of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by committing to a healthy lifestyle. Factors that contribute to having a stroke are smoking, drinking, drug use, unbalanced and fatty diet, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, stress and diabetes. Controlling these will lower your risk significantly.
What is the impact on the body?
Those who survive can experience a number of disabilities such as permanent loss of memory, mobility and speech, problems swallowing, bowel and bladder disfunction and nerve damage. The person is also at a higher risk of dying from complications as a result. Stroke is not a joke.