According to the American Stroke Association, stroke killed 143,579 people in 2005. 60.6% of stroke fatalities were women. Aside from being a leading cause of death, stroke also causes long-term disability.
Some facts about stroke:
- Stroke is preventable but rising globally.
- Aging, unhealthy diets, tobacco use, and physical inactivity, fuel a growing epidemic of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and vascular cognitive impairment.
- Worldwide, stroke accounts for 5.7 million deaths each year and ranks second to ischemic heart disease as a cause of death; it is also a leading cause of serious disability, sparing no age, sex, ethnic origin, or country.
- Four out of five strokes occur in low and middle income countries who can least afford to deal with the consequences of stroke.
- If nothing is done, the predicted number of people who will die from stroke will increase to 6.7 million each year by 2015.
- Six million deaths could be averted over the next 10 years if what is already known is applied.
- Much can be done to prevent and treat stroke and rehabilitate those who suffer the devastating consequences of stroke.
Here’s what you can do in your own small way in observing this day and helping fight stroke:
- Know the signs and symptoms of stroke. The American Stroke Association (ASA) gives tips on how to recognize the warning signs of stroke, namely:
- o Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- o Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- o Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- o Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- o Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
- Know your and your loved ones’ risk factors. The Power to End Stroke initiative of the ASA provides an online, easy-to-do personal stroke risk assessment.
- Concentrate on prevention. Stroke can be prevented through lifestyle change strategies. Know what you can change in your lifestyle to lower your risk for stroke and other cardiovascular disorder.
- Spread the news to increase awareness. You can download posters and e-cards which you can send to friends, families and colleagues. Posters and e-cards are available at the World Stroke Day site.