Did you know? More than 6 million South Africans live with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure leads you towards being more susceptible to a heart attack or stroke. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, statistics show that 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur every day in our country. But many of these can be prevented.
What is a stroke?
While you may think that a stroke is not a serious medical incident, it is. A stroke is a type of brain dysfunction, whereby parts of the brain do not receive the all-important blood supply. Without blood being fed to your brain, your brain’s cells could be damaged or even die. There are many different types of strokes, and while not all of them may have severe results, they should all be treated with urgency.
What causes a stroke?
Strokes can be caused by a number of things, including an artery blockage or burst blood vessel. They can be very distressing to experience and even more concerning to witness, but the faster you access medical assistance, the more likely you are to recover well.
How to identify a stroke:
There’s a well-known identification system that’s used to identify a stroke – it’s called the FAST system. Here’s how it works:
F: Facial Weakness – check to see if the person can smile. If their face has fallen on one side, this is an indication of a stroke.
A: Arm Weakness – can the person raise both arms and keep them there? If not, they may be experiencing a stroke.
S: Speech Problems – if the person is slurring their words, unable to speak clearly or battles to understand what you’re saying, they may be having a stroke.
T: Time to Call – if you suspect someone is having a stroke, call medical emergency services immediately. You will probably need to call an ambulance if you cannot get this person to a hospital yourself, or if the person is unconscious. The quicker you call, the more likely they are to be okay, so don’t delay making this phone call.
How are strokes treated?
Every person is different, and the way a stroke sufferer is treated will depend upon a range of factors, including their health, medical history and how long they waited until seeking medical assistance. Recovery, treatment and rehabilitation will differ from person to person, along with further stroke prevention techniques.
LifeDoc Can Help
If you, or a member of your family have had a stroke, you will need to ensure that your doctor not only knows about it, but that you attend regular medical check ups too. LifeDoc™ can help. LifeDoc™ makes it easy to share your family’s medical history with your doctor and log important health-related events. Best of all, it is free and easily accessible, from wherever you are. Register here or like the LifeDoc™ Facebook page for regular updates. You can also stay on track with LifeDoc™ developments on Twitter.