By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
With the help of a new support group, a local organisation is seeking to not only raise awareness of strokes but also offer help to those affected by them.
The STROKE Foundation is further seeking to make October 29 National Stroke Awareness Day. Every year from now on, the organisation is planning to host a number of events and initiatives to educate people on the condition.
Stroke is the second leading cause of death in in world. In the United States, more than 140,000 people die each year from strokes. It is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disabilities.
Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks, according to strokecenter.org.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data published in May 2014, stroke deaths in Bahamas reached 198 or 10.07 per cent of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate was 59.30 per 100,000 population. This means the Bahamas ranks 120th in the world when it comes to stroke deaths.
Strokes are caused by a blocked blood vessel or bleeding in the brain. The signs of a stroke include a sudden severe headache, weakness, numbness, vision problems, confusion, trouble walking or talking, dizziness and slurred speech.
WebMD states symptoms of stroke include sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body, sudden vision changes, sudden trouble speaking, sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements, sudden problems with walking or balance and a sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches, the website stated.
Celeste Williams, a member of the Stroke Foundation, told Tribune Health their group will do its part in educating Bahamians.
"Emphasis is placed on the stroke survivor and the assistance offered by his family and community in the aftermath. This group has been formed in response to the increasing instances of stroke among Bahamians and is aimed to help stroke survivors and their families cope with the resulting effects of stroke," she said.
Ms William said there is a prevailing lack of understanding when it comes to strokes among the population.
"The foundation aims to increase awareness of brain attack at all levels within the community and, as a result, decrease the incidence of stroke in the Bahamas," she said.
Various initiatives by STROKE will feature educational forums, as well as platforms for survivors and those affected by strokes to share their personal stories.
"Ultimately, the group will work towards increasing awareness of the signs of stroke, improve quality of care, increase access to high-quality stroke care, increase access to support after stroke, increase support for self-management and remove barriers to social reintegration," said Ms Williams.