12 February 2009

Your stroke risk

Sixty people die every day in South Africa because of strokes. What is your risk of getting one?

Every day, 60 people die in South Africa because of strokes, says the Medical Research Council. It is the third most common cause of death in this country, and the leading cause of adult disabilities.

Stroke isn't an old person’s problem: 13% – 30% of stroke patients are between the ages of 15 and 49.

Alarming as these figures might be, what is truly scary is how little most of us know about it. We only become aware of it when it touches our own lives; naturally, this is often too late for us to be able to do anything about it.

  • Test yourself. Could you be at risk of a stroke?
  • Know the facts. As with many serious medical conditions there are many myths surrounding stroke. Get to know the facts.
  • Minimise the risks. Stroke can be prevented by knowing the causes and symptoms, minimising the risks , seeking medical advice and leading a healthy lifestyle.
  • Medical emergency. The sooner you get treated, the greater your chances of recovery. Treatment within the first three hours can reduce the area of brain tissue damaged. This in turn will have an impact on whether you’ll be able to learn to walk again and speak properly. There is life after stroke with the correct treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Great strides are being made in technology. Through the use of robots stroke patients can relearn and regain use of affected muscles and paralysed limbs.
  • Taking a daily walk could lessen your chances of having a stroke.
  • People who suffer from migraine have an increased risk for stroke.
  • Stroke is not only an adult disease - children are also at risk.

(Health24, September 2007)

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

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