Stroke is also known as "Cerebrovascular accident". It is caused by blockage or rupture of blood vessels in the brain, leading to insufficient oxygen supply to the brain and hence death of the brain cells.

In Hong Kong, it claims an average of around 3,000 lives every year. It is the third leading cause of death, ranking behind cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The negative impact of stroke brought to the patient and his/her family are very serious.

Stroke mostly affects elder people. Patients are usually above the age of 50, but the age of Stroke patients has been declining in recent years. The Risk Factors include :

  1. Age - the older, the more risky
  2. Hypertension
  3. Diabetes Mellitus
  4. Smoking
  5. Diseases of the heart and blood vessels
  6. Atrial fibrillation
  7. High blood Lipid level
  8. Blood vessel tumour or aneurysm
  9. Alcoholism
  10. Obesity
  11. Lack of exercise

Prevention of Stroke

  1. Controlling the risk factors of stroke: People with hypertension, high blood lipid levels, diabetes or heart diseases should attend regular medical examinations and comply with the drug treatment to achieve a better control of the disorders.
  2. Lifestyle adjustments: Quit smoking, refrain from alcohol, have a balanced diet and appropriate exercise.
  3. Recognizing the warning signs of stroke

When someone is unluckily attacked by stroke, if the warning signs of stroke of the patient could be recognized earlier and he/she be conveyed to hospital for treatment as quickly as possible, the chance of recovery or prognosis could be better.

Common warning signs of stroke

  • Unilateral numbness/Loss of power
  • Slurred speech/Aphasia
  • Facial palsy
  • Impaired vision/Double vision (diplopia)
  • Syncope
  • Severe headache with vomiting
  • Incontinence
  • Unconsciousness and, in serious cases, unequal pupil size.

Some patients may have a transient attack of the warning signs (as above), lasting for several minutes with complete recovery. Studies have shown that these patients are likely to have a major stroke or cardiovascular event within a year. Therefore, even if these signs have subsided, the patient should undergo medical check-up immediately.

If you suspect a patient having a stroke...

  • Keep clam & call “999” to summon an ambulance.
  • If the patient is conscious, lay him/her flat and elevate the head and shoulders by 30 degrees.
  • If the patient is unconscious, roll him/her lateral to drain any saliva or vomitus from mouth. Never place any pillow or other things underneath the patient’s head.
  • Loosen all tight clothing.。
  • Comfort patient and accompany him/her till the arrival of the ambulance.
  • Do not allow any food or drink.

Record the time discovering the warning signs of stroke, and inform ambulance personnel on their arrival.