THE Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa says the rate of obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, unhealthy diets and high blood pressure in the country makes the population vulnerable to cardio-vascular disease which includes strokes. File picture
THE Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa says the rate of obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, unhealthy diets and high blood pressure in the country makes the population vulnerable to cardio-vascular disease which includes strokes. File picture

Major signs of stroke and what to do when you experience them

By Nomonde Zondi Time of article published Oct 22, 2021

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DURBAN – As World Stroke Week is approaching, the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department has urged the public to not ignore any signs of stroke and seek medical attention as soon as possible should they experience any symptoms.

South Africa commemorates World Stroke Week, from October 28 to November 3, to raise awareness about the symptoms of stroke and the importance of seeking treatment.

According to information published on the government website, www.gov.za, common symptoms of a stroke include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg; loss of speech, difficulty speaking or understanding speech; loss of vision; severe or unusual headache; dizziness and trouble with walking.

It said strokes occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without the blood which carries oxygen, some brain cells die or get damaged.

It said since a stroke is usually not painful, patients may easily ignore the symptoms and not seek medical attention in the hope that they will improve.

“All patients with stroke symptoms need to be stabilised as soon as possible while seeking urgent medical assistance.”

Dr Thobile Ndlovu speaking on a stroke awareness live video event, with KZN MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane, said it is important for people to watch their diet to reduce chances of getting a stroke.

“It’s important to check on your health, maybe once a year go to a medical institution to check your blood pressure and sugar blood levels. Maintain a healthy weight, exercising is important. Quit smoking and reduce the amount of salt you consume,” she said.

She said families should support people who are affected by stroke.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, the rate of obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, unhealthy diets and hypertension in the country makes the population very vulnerable to cardio-vascular disease which includes strokes.

According to the 2020 Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa annual report, non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), are estimated to account for 48% of total adult deaths in South Africa.

“CVDs account for almost a fifth (18%) of these deaths. In South Africa, 225 people die daily of heart disease and 110 of stroke, with 90 living with life changing disability because of a stroke,” said the report.

THE MERCURY

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