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World Stroke Day – What’s your reason for preventing stroke?

World Stroke Day is observed on October 29 to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke, raise awareness of the prevention and treatment of the condition, and ensure better care and support for survivors.

What Is Stroke

Stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding. They result in part of the brain not functioning properly.

World stroke day

Signs and symptoms

Stroke may include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body, problems understanding or speaking, feeling like the world is spinning, or loss of vision to one side. Signs and symptoms often appear soon after the stroke has occurred. If symptoms last less than one or two hours it is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke may also be associated with a severe headache. The symptoms of a stroke can be permanent. Long-term complications may include pneumonia or loss of bladder control.

Main risk factor

The main risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Other risk factors include tobacco smoking, obesity, high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, previous TIA, and atrial fibrillation. Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Risk factor
  • How much it affects stroke risk
  • Why it affects stroke risk
  • What you can do


  • Hypertension causes a two-to four-fold increase in the risk of stroke before age 80. after age 80, the impact of hypertension declines and other risk factors become more important.
  • Hypertension promotes atherosclerosis and causes mechanical damage to the walls of blood vessels.
  • Blood pressure medications, such as thiazide diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (aCe) inhibitors, can reduce the risk of stroke by 30 to 40 percent. early treatment is essential. among older people with normal blood pressure, prior mid-life hypertension increases stroke risk up to 92 percent. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a target blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg.

Cigarette smoking

  • Smoking causes about a two-fold increase in the risk of ischemic stroke and up to a four-fold increase in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Smoking promotes atherosclerosis and aneurysm formation and stimulates blood clotting factors.


  • In terms of stroke and cardiovascular disease risk, having diabetes is the equivalent of ageing 15 years.
  • In diabetes, glucose is not efficiently taken up by the body’s cells and accumulates in the blood instead, where it can damage the vascular system. Hypertension is common among diabetics and accounts for much of their increased stroke risk.
  • blood pressure medications, dietary changes, and weight loss can lower stroke risk. Controlling blood sugar appears to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke.

Physical inactivity and obesity

  • Waist-to-hip ratio equal to or above the median (mid-value for the population) increases the risk of ischemic stroke three-fold.
  • Obesity is associated with hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • While no clinical studies have tested the effects of exercise or weight loss on stroke risk, both tend to reduce hypertension and boost cardiovascular health.

Atrial fibrillation (AF)

  • AF affects fewer than one percent of people under age 60 but is more prevalent in older people. It is responsible for one in four strokes after age 80 and is associated with high mortality and disability.
  • AF refers to the irregular contraction of the atrium – the chamber where blood enters the heart. aF can lead to blood stagnation and increased clotting.
  • Warfarin, a blood-thinning medication, can reduce the risk of stroke in people with aF. People under age 60 with aF and no other stroke risk factors may benefit from aspirin. Importantly, pacemakers have no effect on the risk of stroke associated with AF.

Cholesterol imbalance

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is generally considered protective against ischemic stroke. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, when present in excess, is considered harmful.
  • LDL and HDL are needed to carry cholesterol (a fatty substance) through the blood (made up mostly of water), and deliver it to cells. because LDL delivers cholesterol to cells throughout the body, excess LDL can cause cholesterol to build up in blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis. HDL sends cholesterol to the liver to be eliminated.
  • Clinical trials have shown that cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins reduce the risk of stroke. However, some studies point to only a weak association between stroke and cholesterol, and there is speculation that statins reduce stroke risk by acting through some unknown mecha


Diagnosis is typical with medical imaging such as a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan along with a physical exam. Other tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood tests are done to determine risk factors and rule out other possible causes. Low blood sugar may cause similar symptoms.


Prevention includes decreasing risk factors, as well as possibly aspirin, statins, surgery to open up the arteries to the brain in those with problematic narrowing, and warfarin in those with atrial fibrillation. A stroke or TIA often require emergency care. An ischemic stroke, if detected within three to four and half hours, may be treatable with a medication that can break down the clot.

World Stroke Day 29th October 2017: What’s your reason for preventing stroke?

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability accounting for 1 in 10 deaths and a total of 44 million years of healthy life lost each year. Stroke can happen to anyone at any time and affects everyone: survivors, family, friends, workplaces and communities.

Stroke is preventable Over 90% of strokes are linked to 10 key risk factors. By taking steps to address the causes of the Stroke at individual and population level, we have the power to reduce the human, social and economic costs of stroke. On World Stroke Day this year, we will be focused on stroke prevention raising awareness of stroke risks and demonstrating the steps we can all take- as individuals, professionals or decision makers – to prevent stroke.

What you can do

  • Develop your local World Stroke Day Campaign plan and put your plans on the World Stroke Campaign Map
  • Download, tailor and share World Stroke Campaign resources
  • Improve your own and others’ awareness of actual stroke risk by referring people to your networks or patient group to an endorsed stroke risk assessment tool.
  • Offer blood pressure tests and pulse monitoring in your community.
  • #worldstrokeday



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