Stroke remains the fourth leading cause of death in the country, according to Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in a message for World Stroke Day, celebrated today.
Approximately 400 new cases are recorded each year, said the minister in his message, noting that stroke is no longer a disease that often affect the elderly. “Sixty-three per cent of stroke victims are under the age of 70,” said the minister.
“Globally, there are 12 million new stroke victims every year. This equates to one victim every three seconds,” he said. “The World Stroke Organization notes that one-in-four adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime.”
Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said stroke occurs when brain cells die or are injured due to the blood vessels to the brain being affected. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability or death, said the minister.
“This year, the theme of World Stroke Day 2023 is ‘Together We Are #Greater Than Stroke’,” said the minister, adding that it focuses on stroke prevention, calling for everyone to take action to understand, identify and address the risk of stroke.
“More than half of all strokes are associated with high blood pressure. High or consistently high blood pressure makes the circulatory system, which is the heart, arteries and blood vessels, work harder to move blood throughout the body,” he said.
“This extra work causes damage that can make blood vessels including those in the brain narrower, rupture or leak over time. If the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off or restricted, it can cause permanent brain damage, or death.
“Carrying too much body weight, especially around the midsection, plus stress on the heart and other organs, can increase the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which increase the risk of stroke,” said the minister.
The minister also cautioned against smoking, saying that tobacco smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals that can penetrate the bloodstream through the lungs and are able to change and damage cells and affect the way the body functions.
“These changes affect the circulatory system and increase the risk of stroke,” he said. – Azlan Othman