Today is World Stroke Awareness Day, (WSD): This year’s campaign is that stroke is treatable, especially if its recognised early (remember FAST) and treated as a medical emergency with thrombolysis therapy if indicated. Their video, below, emphasises this.
WSD says, “Stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or die. This damage can have different effects depending on where it happens in the brain. It can affect people’s body, mobility and speech, as well as how they think and feel.”
Stroke is extremely relevant to people who need anticoagulants. People with atrial fibrillation are at risk of stroke due to an embolism from a clot in their heart. Stroke can also be due to a bleed in the brain, which is more frequent if you are on anticoagulants.
Previous articles Coagulation conversation has had about stroke are
- Reaching your Diagnosis – Stroke
- More Good news about Stroke and Warfarin
- Bleeding – the Big, the Bad and the Ugly
- life threatening concerns
Be FAST aware
Stroke outcomes would be better if everyone knew
what to look for
If you think someone may have had a stroke, do this FAST check:
- Face – Is one side drooping?
- Arms – Raise both arms. Is one side weak?
- Speech – Is the person able to speak? Are words jumbled or slurred?
- Time – Act quickly and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
and what to do
As the acronym says, get to the emergency department FAST
3 key facts about strokes
1. Stroke devastates lives around the world
Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death globally. Each year 17 million people have strokes, 6 million die and 5 million are permanently disabled
2. Clot-busting drugs (tPA or thrombolysis) increase the chance of a good outcome by 30%.
Clot-busting drugs break up blood clots. This treatment can be administered up to 4.5 hours from symptom onset in many patients with ischaemic stroke. The earlier it is given, the greater the effect.
3. One in four survivors will have another stroke.
Chances of another stroke can be reduced with drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, antiplatelet therapies, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, surgery or stenting for selected patients with severe carotid artery narrowing.
Lifestyle changes can also greatly reduce the risk of another stroke. Changes include eating well, being physically active, being tobacco-free, managing stress, and limiting alcohol consumption.
Has stroke affected your life? Are your friends and family FAST aware?