Stroke death toll can be cut with swift treatment

Stroke death toll can be cut with swift treatment

Deaths among stoke sufferers could be heavily cut if the patient receives treatment within four hours of having an attack, the Neurological Society of Thailand (NST) has told the government.

Out of the 300,000 people who suffered strokes in Thailand last year, about 30,000 or 10%, died.

The high death toll could have been much less, says the NST, if the patients had reached hospital sooner and received medical treatment within four hours of having the stroke. In fact, 90% of people who suffer strokes can make a good recovery, as long as they get to hospital quickly.

"One out of four people in Thailand has a stroke, which has become one of the major causes of disability in the elderly. Lives can be saved simply by getting these patients to doctors sooner," said Dr Nijarsi Charnnarong, chairperson of the NST, at a seminar yesterday that marked World Stroke Day.

She said most Thais do not realise that those suffering from strokes have a higher chance of survival if they receive medical attention within four hours. She urged the Ministry of Public Health to do more to raise awareness about this, so people know to immediately dial the ambulance hotline service 1669 in the event of a stroke.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, the number of stroke patients in Thailand rose to 304,807 in 2017, up from 293,463 in 2016. Most of the patients suffering strokes also had other illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and/or high blood pressure.

According to the World Stroke Organization (WSO), one in four adults will have a stroke in their lifetime, compared to one in six less than a decade ago. Even though strokes can be prevented, WSO President, Prof Michael Brainin warned that the current approaches to prevention have done little to alleviate the situation.

"Global progress on prevention has stalled, at an enormous cost to individuals and an increasing cost to society," he told The Lancet last month. He added: "The failure has been made even more visible by the current global health and economic crisis, where poor population health and fragile healthcare systems have combined with Covid-19 infections to deliver a perfect storm."

UN member states have committed to reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by a third by 2030. They hope to do this by raising awareness of the most dangerous habits, including the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food, plus reducing environmental risk factors such as air pollution.

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