Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the world. According to a study published by ‘The Lancet’ only in 2016 there were 13.7 million new strokes on the planet and 5.5 million deaths caused by this disease were recorded, making it the second leading cause of death in developed countries and the first in the case of women.
The son of Isabel Pantoja, Kiko Rivera, has been the latest celebrity to be affected by this ailment, y is admitted to the Virgen del Rocío hospital in Seville after suffering a serious health problem early this morning.
In Spain, according to data from the association Freno al Ictus, this cerebrovascular affection. attacks each year 120,000 people resulting in death or severe disability in approximately 50% of them. Of these cases, between 30% and 35% occur in people under 65 years of age, that is, of working age, as reported by the Cerebrovascular Disease Study Group of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN).
Stroke, a great unknown
One of the issues that most concern the experts is the great public ignorance that exists of this condition, a problem that affects the diagnosis of the patient, because in the case of strokes every second is crucial if we want to prevent the brain from suffering serious and irreversible damage.
“A stroke is a disease caused by an abrupt disorder of cerebral circulation and compromises the arrival of oxygen and glucose to a region of the brain, causing the loss of its function”, explains Dr. Leciñana. The brain has no energy reserves, it is directly dependent on the supply of oxygen and glucose, so if this stops, the brain dies,” he adds.
Despite this fact, a survey elaborated by the SEN and Freno al Ictus reveals that up to 61 % of patients or caregivers of patients who had suffered a stroke recognized that before the disease they had a low or very low knowledge of what it is, a misinformation that in 28 % of the respondents remained after having suffered the ailment.
“We have to improve this”,” he said. Leciñanait cannot be that two thirds of the population are unaware of what a stroke is, because that means that people do not recognize the warning signs”.
But what are these symptoms? As Dr. Leciñana explains to Efe, the warning signs of a stroke are the sudden loss of strength or sensitivity on one side of the body, the loss of the ability to speak or understand language, the loss of vision in one eye or visual field and a very sudden and intense headache.
“These symptoms make it necessary to seek urgent care”, he notes, adding that the best way to achieve this is “by calling 112”. “You don’t have to go to the hospital, you have to be taken by the emergency services”, he says, something in which the doctor agrees. Riera LópezHead of the Ictus Commission of SUMMA 112.
The importance of calling 112
The first of these links is the call to 112 after the first symptoms, and it is the one that sustains the rest of the process, because the moment any of the signs of stroke are cited, the call goes to two people: to the health transport desk, which sends a health resource to the patient’s home, and to the physician, who will be in charge of collecting all the information from the stroke suspect.
When the emergency service arrives at the patient’s home, the patient’s vital signs are taken and the patient’s information is passed to the coordinating center to alert the hospital.which will prepare the imaging tests, analytical tests and the team that will treat the patient.
“This advance notice to the hospital will save a lot of time and is the reason why we always have to go to the hospital by ambulance”, explains Riera, who points out that with this advance notice we can save “more than an hour”, an extremely important time when treating this disease that each year leaves approximately 27,000 deaths in Spain and is the most common cause of death in Spain. second leading cause of dementia or cognitive impairment.behind only Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite its seriousness, there are a number of risk factors that can be controlled to prevent strokes. Alcohol and tobacco consumption, high blood cholesterol levels, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are, among others, some of the causes that make us more prone to suffer a stroke, but they can be combated through a healthy lifestyle, reports Efe.
In turn, age increases the probability of suffering a cerebral infarction, being the main non-alterable risk factor. “Stroke is increasing every time we get older”, says Leciñana, who states that in a society in which there are more elderly people, the prevalence of the disease, and the absolute number of annual cases, will be greater.
In this sense, it is foreseen that by 2035 to experience a 34% increase in the incidence of stroke in Europe.. In the case of Spain, incident cases are expected to increase by 35%, prevalence by 31% and deaths by 39%.
“We still have a lot to do”, Leciñana sentences, adding that mortality is decreasing thanks to treatments such as intravenous thrombolysis, mechanical thrombectomy and the implementation of stroke units.
Strokes cause a serious impact on the sufferer and his or her environment. Despite the fact that more and more patients recover or suffer minor sequelae, stroke remains the second leading cause of death in developed countries and is the leading cause of adult disability, making it difficult to interact with other people, increasing family economic costs and reducing working life.