Today is World Stroke Day

October 29, 2008 by  

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Today, October 29, is World Stroke Day. The proclamation for this highly relevant day in the journal Stroke states that stroke is “a preventable and treatable catastrophe“.

Current stroke statistics

Here are some stroke statistics to ponder upon:

  • Worldwide, stroke claims 5.7 million lives each year; it is second to ischemic heart disease as a cause of mortality serious disability. Stroke affects everybody regardless of age, sex, ethnic origin, or country.
  • By 2015, stroke mortalities can go up to 6.7 million if preventive measures are not stepped up.
  • For every five people suffering from stroke, four are residents of low and middle income countries who have limited resources in dealing with the health consequences of stroke.

Why is stroke a growing epidemic?

Here is the reason why stroke is becoming a global problem:

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.

Little strokes can cause big trouble

This year’s theme for World Stroke Day is “Little Strokes, Big Trouble.”

Little strokes refer to the so-called subclinical or “silent” or “mini” strokes and they are more common than previously thought. They can actually occur five times as often as clinical strokes. A recent study reported that 1 in 10 individuals who are basically healthy and “stroke-free” do suffer from silent strokes and they do not know it.

However, although they may be “little” or “silent”, these types of stroke can build up to cause big and not-so-silent troubles. For one thing, silent strokes can have subtle neuropsychological effects and may thus affect thinking, mood, personality, as well as cognitive impairment.

Prevention can work

Stroke, however, is preventable and if what is already known is applied, almost 6 million deaths can be prevented each year, according to the World Stroke Day proclamation. “Prevention is the most readily applicable and affordable part of our knowledge but [it] is neglected.

Here are some recommended preventive measures:

  • Encourage healthy environments to support healthy habits and lifestyles.
  • Use effective drugs for both primary and secondary prevention. Regretfully these drugs are neither accessible nor affordable in many developing countries, nor used optimally in developed ones.
  • Discourage unproven, costly, or misdirected practices, which drain resources from more cost effective approaches.
  • Educate health professionals at all levels through a common vocabulary, a core curriculum, on-line materials, long distance mentoring, and opportunities for learning in clinical practice settings.

In honor of the World Stroke Day, I will be featuring more stroke articles in this site. Stay tuned!


Photo credit: vein by gerard79 at stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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