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Regaining Life After Stroke

We all are prone to diseases. Hence it is important to understand what makes us vulnerable, and stamp out the problem before it becomes unmanageable.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Malaysia that affects more than 50,000 individuals every year. Anyone of any age can have a stroke. The country observed 40 percent of the Malaysian population who experienced strokes below the age of 60 years.

Stroke is a leading cause of disability for adults. Neurologist and general physician Associate Professor Dr. Hoo Fan Kee shared some crucial insights with us. We need to catch the warning signs of stroke F.A.S.T.: face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to dial 999 to get immediate treatment should we experience such symptoms. 

Stroke occurs when the blood flow in a blood vessel is disrupted, depriving the brain of oxygen. The disappearance of oxygen supply can also injure the brain. 

According to the senior lecturer at Hospital Universiti Putra Malaysia (HPUPM), one should identify what puts them at risk of stroke and learn to keep it under control. He pointed out that some common risk factors are age, lifestyle and family history. 

 

Are you at risk?

“As you get older, your chances for stroke increases. When one is a regular/heavy smoker, obese, consumes high-calorie food or is on a high salt diet, their risk for stroke is elevated. Having a family history of stroke and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can also trigger strokes,” he explained.

 

Promote healthy living behaviours to prevent stroke

Assoc Prof Dr. Hoo, who is also the Malaysia Stroke Council president and was involved in many trials of emerging stroke treatment, highlighted that engaging in regular physical activities, be it jogging or brisk walking can combat health diseases. And when paired with a healthy diet, it keeps diseases at bay.

In addition, it is important to ward off that unhealthy lifestyle, quit smoking and cut down on alcohol. Adopting a healthful living can help maintain a healthy level of cholesterol, lower your risk of high blood pressure and manage your blood sugar levels.

Do you know 80 percent of strokes are due to blood clots? 

“Some patients undergo a reperfusion therapy to remove the clot. However, choosing the right hospital is vital. Make sure it treats stroke as not every hospital is trained to provide blood clot treatment. The ways to promote stroke recovery are via medication and physiotherapy. Although some of us still doubt its efficacy, never neglect the role of physiotherapy,” he said.

Physiotherapy helps stroke patients get back as much movement as possible, regain limb mobility and relearn lost abilities. Besides, it can minimise the risk of future strokes. 

There is a website specially designed for individuals to locate stroke hospital, https://mystrokehospital.my/ 

Most of the stroke patients are treated by neurologists. The country’s limited number of neurologists makes it insufficient to account for the number of stroke patients. 

Dr. Hoo Fan Kee

Dr. Hoo said more than 50 percent of the neurologists work in private hospitals but 70 percent of patients go to public hospitals. 

In order to reach more patients, neurologists across the nation set in motion an initiative to grow the pool of medical personnel that are able to treat stroke. 

With adequate healthcare, more patients can be saved in the golden hour, which is less than four and a half hours after experiencing a stroke.  

“The council serves as a healthcare provider for networking among healthcare practitioners in Malaysia and overseas, equipping non-neurologists such as general physicians and emergency physicians with the right knowledge to manage the condition,” he stressed. 

The founder of National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM), Janet Yeo, said that when we take the initiative to learn and live a functional life, we take a huge burden off our family. 

As a stroke survivor herself, she explained the purpose of this foundation is to help every stroke survivor lead an independent life. 

“One needs about six months to a year to recover sufficiently to become independent, confident and regain their self worth and happiness.”

Ever wondered how one’s brain works after experiencing an episode of stroke? The brain becomes very receptive to learning, mimicking a developing brain (the brain of a child).

To read more about neuroplasticity and stroke rehabilitation, visit Alpro Pharmacy’s Facebook page.

 

Gisele Soo

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