Every six seconds, regardless of age or gender – someone somewhere will die from stroke.
This is more than a public health statistic. These are people, who at one time, were someone’s sister, brother, wife, husband, daughter, son, partner, mother, father… friend. They did exist and were loved. Behind the numbers are real lives. The World Stroke Organization (WSO) is calling for urgent action to address the silent stroke epidemic on World Stroke Day, 29 October 2016.
Stroke can be prevented and stroke survivors can partially recover and regain some quality of life with the appropriate long-term care and support. The burden of stroke can be reduced by acting on six easy 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 recognize the warning signs of a stroke and how to take action.
WSO says that stroke is the second leading cause of death for people above the age of 60, and the fifth leading cause in people aged 15 to 59. Stroke also attacks children, including newborns. Each year, nearly six million people die from stroke. In fact, stroke is responsible for more deaths every year than those attributed to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together – three diseases which have set the benchmark for successful public health advocacy, capturing the attention of the world’s media and which consequently has provoked world leaders, governments and many sectors of civil society to act.
Stroke is indiscriminate and does not respect borders. Individual countries cannot address the challenges of stroke in isolation. World Stroke Day brings together advocacy groups, patient survivor support networks, volunteer stroke societies, public health authorities, physicians, nurses and others within the allied health professions including civil society at-large, for a collaborative approach to comprehensive stroke education, advocacy, prevention, treatment and long-term care and support for stroke survivors.