October 29th is World Stroke Day, a day where many organizations around the world prepare campaigns to increase awareness of this disease and its prevention (http://www.worldstrokecampaign.org/).
Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world, and the first cause of disability in adults. One in 5 men and 1 in 6 women around the world will have a stroke during their lifetime, and a quarter of them will have more than one. It is mainly caused as a consequence of high blood pressure, which can also give rise to cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that 80-90% of strokes are preventable, as they are due to unhealthy lifestyle habits. Consequently, the aim of this campaign is to provide insight on the most common risk factors that can develop into a stroke, and how to prevent them. Prevention methods include eating a healthy diet, being physically active, quit smoking, learn to deal with stress, limiting alcohol consumption, and lowering risk-inducing factors such as excess body weight, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, treatment has significantly improved in the last decades, with the appearance of drugs that help break blood clots. If taken in the first hours of a stroke, these drugs can increase the chances of a good recovery by 30%. In this sense, a quick reaction time is key, and it is very important, especially those with a family history of strokes, to properly identify the symptoms that may indicate that an individual had a stroke, and therefore can act quickly by seeking medical attention.
Therefore, if there is an event nearby your home to promote World Stroke Day, I would highly recommend to take a moment and check it out. You never know, the information you receive may one day save your life or of someone you know.
Jonathan Jones, PhD
New Product Development Manager (Metabolic Syndrome)