Oct. 29 is World Stroke Awareness Day

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Wally Pearce, Winters Elder Day Council
Special to the Express

When someone sustains a stroke, every-second is critical because brain tissue and millions of neurons begin to fade away with each-and-every heartbeat — time is precious.

In 2010, the World Stroke Organization (WSO) declared strokes as, “…a disease and a public health emergency.” The International Stroke Society (ISS), the World Stroke Federation (WSF), and the European Stroke Organization (ESO) all agree, because it’s clear by the overwhelming evidence that a stroke is a life-threatening event.

World Stroke Awareness Day is designed to raise awareness of stroke markers, indicators, and the rewards of timely access to fast and professional emergency medical treatment; and was first observed during the 2004 World Stroke Congress in Vancouver, Canada, by Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, a Canadian neurologist and polymath with a distinguished record of discovery in vascular dementia and stroke, and the medical expert behind this process.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, World Stroke Awareness Day focuses on raising the understanding about the signs of a stroke and the vital need to get the individual quick assistance to quality therapeutic intervention.

According to the California Stroke Registry, a stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death in California. More than 14,000 Californians die annually of a stroke and stroke related illnesses, and in Yolo County, that approximate number is 73.

The overall figures conclude that 38 percent of those suffering strokes are middle aged (40–69) up from 33 percent a decade ago. The average age for a woman suffering a stroke has dropped from 75 to 73 and for men it dropped from 71 to 68.

Although most people who suffer a stroke are older than 60, up to 10 percent of all strokes occur in those under the age of 45. However, infants, high school students, and even young adults can experience a stroke. Although just 10 percent of people fully recover from a stroke, 25 percent have minor impairments, and 40 percent have moderate losses that are manageable with special medical care.

World Stroke Awareness Day is observed annually to emphasize the seriousness of a stroke, including suppression and remedy, and to ensure better medical-care and maintenance for survivors.

Stroke continues to be a widespread disease around the globe; it’s currently the single largest cause of disability and the second largest cause of death globally. The individual lifetime risk of stroke is currently one in four.

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. World Stroke Awareness Day continues to provide a focal point for the campaign with biennial themes which seek to draw attention to key issues in stroke prevention, and treatment.

Today, nearly 100 million people worldwide live with the consequences of stroke and the annual costs are nearing a staggering trillion-dollar mark. The World Stroke Organization is calling for action with more effective applicable deterrent plans, including daily-life changes, that should be developed and applied for people at any level of increased risk of stroke.

To learn more about stroke, seek your doctor’s advice during a scheduled appointment. Your physician is in the best position to evaluate risk factors for stroke and heart disease and can provide important advice and prevention measures, such as lifestyle strategies or medications to control high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other stroke risk factors.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, please join the Winters Elder Day Council in recognizing World Stroke Awareness Day. And, please, remember, if you witness a person showing any symptoms of a possible stroke, even if the prodrome goes away, please contact 911 immediately, and get that person to a hospital’s Emergency Room as quickly as possible.

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