In the next decade, the incidence of stroke will increase by 34%, according to the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) on the occasion of the observance, on Saturday, October 29, of World Stroke Day.
It is the second leading cause of death and the second leading cause of cognitive impairment in the adult population. Furthermore, this year, 12.2 million people worldwide will suffer a stroke, 6.5 million (more than half) will die from this disease, and it is estimated that more than 110 million people will survive. inability.
In Spain alone, according to SEN data, around 110,000 people suffer a stroke every year, of which at least 15% die, and of the survivors, around 30% remain functionally dependent. In Spain, stroke is the leading cause of death in women, the second in men and the leading cause of disability in both men and women.
A stroke occurs as a result of a change in blood flow to the brain. In more than 80% of cases, the cause is a blockage of one of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, usually due to a clot: this is called an ischemic stroke. But it can also be caused by a rupture in one of these vessels: what we call a hemorrhagic stroke. However, no matter what type of stroke he suffered, we are always talking about a medical emergency, because the longer an area of the brain is without blood flow, the greater the consequences. . SEN group, Mar Castellanos.
Stroke is a medical emergency because it is a time-dependent disease, that is, the earlier it is detected, tests and treatment are accessed, the greater the probability of surviving this disease and the greater the chances of overcoming it without sequelae. But, although it is estimated that 1 in 4 people in adulthood will suffer a stroke in their lifetime, only 50% of the Spanish population knows how to recognize the symptoms of this disease.
These signs are a sudden loss of strength or sensation in a part of the body; sudden change in language with speech or comprehension difficulties; a sudden change in vision, such as loss of vision in one eye, double vision, or loss of vision on one side of our field of vision; sudden loss of coordination or balance; A very strong headache and different from the other usual headaches.
“Symptoms of a stroke often come on suddenly and unexpectedly, and although patients often have many of these symptoms, just identifying one of them is reason enough to call 112. Even if the symptoms disappear after a few minutes, you should go to a room. . reason, and for the second year in a row, the World Stroke Day campaign is focused on organizations around the world to come together to try to increase the knowledge that the population has about their symptoms, because a timely response is essential for their survival. so that they do not suffer from a disability because of this disease,” said Castellanos.
Just as it is important to recognize the symptoms, it is also important to prevent this disease. Although the incidence of stroke increases significantly with age, more than 60% of cases occur in people younger than 70 years and 16% in people younger than 50 years. In other words, although age is a risk factor that cannot be modified, other factors also play a role.
The most important risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, but also other factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, atrial fibrillation, high levels of fats in the blood, diabetes mellitus , genetics or stress. Most of these factors are modifiable, and it is estimated that only by properly controlling these modifiable risk factors, up to 90% of stroke cases can be prevented.
“Prevention is very important, not only because it is something that is in our hands, but because if we don’t, we estimate that in the next decade there will be a 34% increase in the number of strokes, a 45% increase in the number of strokes. . and a 25 percent increase in stroke deaths. percent in the number of stroke survivors with disabilities in Europe. We are confident that these days serve to increase knowledge about this disease and that plans such as the European Action Plan against Stroke, to which the Ministry of Health and SEN have recently joined, will also help to put an end to this disease”, the doctor advanced.