Updated 29 October 2013

Stroke - act fast and save a life

Did you know that stroke is the third biggest cause of death in South Africa? Do not take chances. Learn the facts and save a life today.


Stroke attacks about 240 people a day, regardless of age or gender. A quarter of these people do not survive, so stroke kills 60 people every day! Many who do survive have residual disabilities.

Behind these numbers are real lives - don't allow yourself or your loved one to become a statistic.

Commit yourself to the following six stroke challenges:

  1. Know your personal risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol
  2. Be physically active and exercise regularly
  3. Avoid obesity by keeping to a healthy diet
  4. Limit alcohol consumption
  5. Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now
  6. Learn to recognise the warning signs of a stroke

Stroke symptoms and warning signs

You may be having a stroke if you suddenly experience one or more of these symptoms: 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden loss of speech, trouble speaking or understanding language
  • Sudden loss of vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes, or having double vision
  • Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance or dizziness
  • Sudden severe headache with no cause

Stroke is a medical emergency. If you notice any of these warning signs act fast!

What to do if someone is having a stroke

Call for an ambulance immediately, as medical help is very important within the first few hours. Remember that time lost is brain function lost! The faster you get the person to a hospital, the better their chances of recovery and you could save a life.

Some people who have had a stroke caused by a blood clot, may need special clot-busting treatment called tPA. In these cases, the treatment must be given within the first 3 hours of stroke, it is therefore important to know the time when symptoms first appeared.

Make sure that you and your family are familiar with emergency numbers. Keep these ambulance service numbers handy:

Public: 10177 (from your landline) or 112 (from your mobile phone)
Private: Netcare: 082 911 or ER24:084 124

Don't become another statistic - contact the Heart Mark Diet Line on 0860 223 222 or visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website for more details about what you can do to change your lifestyle to reduce your risk of stroke.


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Stroke Expert

Dr Naeem Brey completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) degree in 2003 at the University of Cape Town. In 2010 he started he started specialising in Neurology at Tygerberg Hospital and graduated with his specialist exam in FCNeurol (Fellowship of the College of Neurology) in May 2013.

He has a particular interest in stroke as well autoimmune and demyelinating neurological illnesses. Read more about Dr Naeem Brey

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