The Health | december , 2020
| Hot Topic |
Rapid treatment vital
Like a heart attack , stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention
BY KHIRTINI K KUMARAN
A stroke occurs when there is a sudden interruption in blood supply to the brain . The most common stroke is caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain while the other stroke is caused by bleeding when a blood vessel bursts .
According to Dr Wan Asyraf , Stroke Neurologist at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz ( HCTM ): “ Stroke is a medical emergency and patients need to come to the hospital as fast as possible .
“ For every single minute the blood vessels are blocked , an estimated 1.9 million neuron brain cells die .
“ In Malaysia , blood vessel occlusion carries about 75 per cent of all strokes . Meanwhile , 25 per cent are bleeding subtype strokes .”
Dr Wan further informed that stroke is one of the leading causes of disability , severely impairing motor skills , communication , cognition , and physical function .
“ If you allow this stroke to establish , then you will have a disability ,” he said , adding that about 15 per cent of patients can die after the first subsequent stroke .
Dr Wan said the significant risk factors for stroke among Malaysians were high blood pressure , high cholesterol , diabetes and smoking .
“ We know that smoking increases
Dr Katijjahbe Mohd Ali
Dr Wan Asyraf the risk of stroke by four-fold , while heart disease increases the risk by five-fold .”
He also added many young Malaysians between 30 and 40 years old were at high risk of having a stroke .
As stroke is a medical emergency , like a heart attack , it requires immediate attention .
Recognising the warning signs
Recognising the warning signs of stroke and seeking immediate treatment has the potential to save lives as well as one ’ s way of living .
According to Dr Wan , the easiest way to identify and remember stroke symptom are with ‘ FAST ’: F Face weakness or numbness , A Arm weakness or numbness , S Speech disturbance , T Telephone ; Call for help .
He said : “ The earlier , the better . It is vital to arrive at the hospital within the first hour from a stroke onset so that we have a larger window to help .
“ Usually , after about four hours , it will start to affect the speech , and by then , the patient is no longer in the golden hours . But do not lose hope ; there are treatments available .
“ In HCTM , since 2015 , our radiologists can push up this catheter or wire to the brain and remove the clot .
“ We also have the technology to expand the hour . But the number of patients that can receive this extended hour treatment is not that large . Only about two to five per cent can go for an extended hour treatment .
“ When I first started in stroke , it was all about giving medication to cure the stroke . Then came the catheter that could reverse the stroke . Now there ’ s focus on early rehabilitation for stroke .”
Dr Katijjahbe Mohd Ali , Stroke Physiotherapy Specialist from HCTM shared : “ Stroke patients are very vulnerable patients , but there are rehabilitation treatments out there that can help them regain their independence .
“ Effective interventions are only applicable to selected populations . Only 10 per cent overall may benefit from thrombolysis and out of this number , only 20 per cent are suitable for endovascular clot retrieval .
“ Whereas the majority of treatment comes from the broad range of rehabilitation , the sooner patients begin stroke rehabilitation ; it is more likely for them to regain their independence .
“ Many people are affected by difficulty sitting , standing up and walking after their stroke . This impacts the lives of the patient and their families .”
Why rehabilitation is important
Rehabilitation helps the patient recover to their optimal functions and regain whichever disability they have lost