World Stroke Day is observed annually on October 29 to raise awareness about the serious nature and high rates of stroke, its prevention, and treatment and how to ensure better care and support is given to stroke patients. It is also an opportunity to emphasize on Stroke education, testing and initiatives to improve its damaging effects worldwide. The annual event, which was established in 2004 at the World Stroke Congress in Vancouver, Canada, was started in 2006 by the World Stroke Organization (WSO). In 2010, the WSO declared stroke a public health emergency. It is currently the single largest cause of disability and the second largest cause of death globally.
In 2009, WSO leadership moved from a focus on a single awareness day, to a year-round campaign to build a more sustained approach to public awareness of key issues in stroke recognition and prevention and treatment.
Beyond World Stroke Day, the World Stroke Campaign (WSC) continues to serve as a source for activism and policy resources worldwide. Through advances in research, and communications at the international level, WSC strives to promote advocacy towards making stroke less of a global threat.
Strokes do not discriminate. A stroke can affect anyone, at any age. About one in four people worldwide will have a stroke in his or her lifetime.
To prevent stroke, it is vital to understand the risk factors. Some risk factors — such as age, race, gender and family history — are outside of your control. But you can control other risk factors.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
- Face Drooping – Does one side of your face droop or is it numb? If you smile, is your face uneven? Seek for help.
- Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downwards? Seek for help.
- Speech – Is your speech slurred? Are you unable to speak or hard to understand? Try or ask a suspected stroke patient to repeat a simple sentence like “The Sky is Blue”.
- Time to call you doctor – If you or someone show any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, seek for medical attention immediately.
Additional Signs of Stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness and loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Steps to prevent stroke
Healthy habits can protect and improve your brain function — which can also lower your risk for stroke. Some of these healthy habits are:
- Monitor your blood pressure.
- Control your cholesterol.
- Keep your blood sugar down.
- Get active.
- Eat better – A healthy balanced diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t smoke, period.
- Reduce your alcohol intake.
- Manage stress and depression.
- Regular check-ups and take medications as prescribed.
World Stroke Day 2020
There will be a virtual conference from 7 – 9 November, 2020, organized by ESO (European Stroke Organization) and WSO (World Stroke Organization).