Stroke Awareness Day (19th October 2014)

Vital to know symptoms of stroke — Neurologist

KUCHING Stroke Day 2014: The first four-and-a-half hours are critical for a stroke victim to recover and make a complete recovery. Therefore, it is extremely important to recognise early warning signs of stroke to enable immediate treatment, said neurologist Dr Rachel Sim Siew Hung. In the first few hours after a stroke, upon arrival at the emergency department of a hospital, the patient will undergo blood investigation, computed tomography (CT) brain scan, review by a specialist and admission for further management.

“Warning signs of stroke are FAST (Face, Arm, Speech and Time), which means one side of the face droops, inability to raise both arms or hands, slurred speech, and to act fast (Time),” she told a press conference yesterday.

She said according to latest statistics by National Stroke Association of Malaysia (Nasam), one in six Malaysians is at risk of stroke regardless of gender, and six Malaysians suffer from stroke every hour. She also said every six seconds, someone dies from stroke worldwide, and every year about 40,000 people in Malaysia suffer from strokes.

“There is a significant lack of awareness among the general public about stroke, warning signs, preventive measures and the need to seek immediate medical treatment and rehabilitation after stroke,” she said, adding stroke is the nation’s number three killer disease after heart disease and cancer.

She explained that stroke is a brain attack and it occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted either by blockage of the blood vessel called artery or bursting of blood vessel.

The brain is the nerve centre of our body which controls everything we do or think, as well as automatic functions like breathing. The lack of blood supply leads to symptoms of stroke. The signs and symptoms of stroke depend on the size and location of the damaged area. About 10 per cent of stroke victims die while many are left severely disabled.

“Death occurs depending on the type of stroke, where and how severe it is,” said Dr Sim.

Stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable. As such, to create awareness among the public, Borneo Medical Centre (BMC) will be holding a medical talk on various topics of stroke during its ‘Stroke Day’ campaign on Oct 19 (this Sunday) in conjunction with the World Stroke Day which falls on Oct 29.

Among the activities to be held at BMC this Sunday are exhibition on everything people need to know about stroke, as well as free screening for first 300 participants. The talk will be conducted in Mandarin with English translation from 10.30am to 12noon, and in English with Chinese translation from 2pm to 3.30pm.

Malaysian Medical Association Sarawak chairman Associate Professor Dr Kamarudin Kana will launch the medical forum.

He is also the deputy dean (undergraduate and student development) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

BMC consultant specialists, Dr Rachel Sim, neurosurgeons Dr Ching Hin San and Dr Donald Liew, vascular surgeon Dr Luk Tien Loong and rehabilitation team will be presenting their topics at the talk. Those interested can call 082-507 333.

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