The World Stroke Organization (WSO) celebrated the first World Stroke Day in 2006. The organization came into being the same year after the merger of the International Stroke Society (ISS) and the World Stroke Federation (WSF). The WSO is a non-profit agency that works to raise awareness about strokes and help stroke survivors in getting back to their lives. In their own words, the WSO’s mission is to “promote research and teaching in this area that will improve the care of stroke victims throughout the world”. In this way, the organization is also committed to recognizing and appreciating the efforts of all those medical and nonmedical professionals who have committed to reducing the stroke rate worldwide. The WSO also hosts a biennial congress workshop where, to date, more than 2400 participants have learned important skill sets. In order to reach a wider audience, the organization has set up an e-learning platform called the World Stroke Academy.
A stroke takes place when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, either totally or partially. Because brain cells require oxygen and nutrients constantly, if the blood supply is not restored on time, the cells will start dying. This is why it is extremely important to get the patient to receive treatment as soon as you suspect stroke symptoms. The following are some tell-tale signs of a stroke: loss of movement, feeling, and/or vision on one side of the body, combined with dizziness, confusion, and difficulty in speaking. People who smoke, have high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity are at a higher risk of suffering from a stroke. You can prevent a stroke from happening by quitting tobacco consumption, eating or drinking healthy, exercising, and taking good care of your heart.
World Stroke Day can be observed by –
Focussing on leading a healthy life: Ten years back, one in six people suffered from a stroke. This statistic has been reduced to one in four in 2021. The risk has increased, so you need to become proactive in saving your own life starting now. Cut down on alcohol and smoking, eat and drink healthily, and exercise on the regular.
Getting regular check-ups: While you may be doing all the right things, it is still good practice to get regularly checked on by your physician. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure levels checked, or monitor them yourself. There’s nothing better than catching a problem early on and getting preventative treatment.
Educating the loved ones: Inform your family and friends about the importance of taking care of themselves against strokes. Educate everyone on what should be done when they think someone is having a stroke. Learn the acronym FAST: “F = Facial Weakness; A = Arm Weakness; S = Speech difficulty; T = Time loss is brain loss”. Call Medical Emergency number when these symptoms are present. Don’t wait!
Facts about strokes:
Long-term disability in stroke sufferers: Half the people who have suffered from a stroke at the age of 65 or above will have to live with a long-term disability for the rest of their lives.
Increase in obesity causes stroke statistics to climb: The worldwide increase in obesity has led to a 12% increase in stroke incidents in 15 years.
Increased recovery rate: With increased awareness and improved treatment, many patients are treated earlier and thus have a greater chance of recovery than previously.
Blood thinners as treatment: Treatments with blood thinners minimize brain damage in stroke patients.
Onlookers are more responsible: Around 66% of the time, an onlooker will get a treatment plan started for a patient suffering from a stroke.
Observing World Stroke Day –
Informs us of strokes and their treatment: Strokes can be very dangerous if not prevented or left untreated. Even a slight delay in getting the right treatment can result in catastrophic changes to a person’s life. Such changes, which would usually impact their socio-economic situations, will also have an impact on their families. Thus, it is important to learn about strokes and ways we could stop them from happening.
Remind us of healthy living: Strokes are not a joke or a passing moment. They can be extremely devastating, as they have the ability to leave you cripple or take your life. Make the decision to start day one of your healthy living so that you avoid this.
Reminds us of precious moments: Illnesses can not only rob us of our health, but they can also steal the precious moments in life that everyone cherishes. Be it a graduation, wedding, anniversary, or a birthday, all these are important milestones, and you would do anything to be there with your loved ones, enjoying and celebrating. So, take hold of your life and live an active life full of those precious times.