Yesterday, October 29, the Lecture Hall at the Hospital Real de la Misericordia welcomed more than a hundred people on the occasion of an informative talk on the prevention and treatment of cerebral ictus, or stroke.
The opening ceremony took place at 11.00 and was attended by the Councilor for Health, Alicia Jimenez; the Regional Manager of SARquavitae, Pedro Bravo and the Medical Director of Hospiten, Dr. Tomas Piñero.
Afterwards, Dr. Mark Saguer, consultant neurologist with the Hospiten Neurology Service, started his talk on ‘How to recognize a stroke and what to do’.
During his presentation, Dr. Saguer described the symptoms of a stroke so as to make it easily recognizable: sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or difficulties in speaking or understanding; sudden problems with sight in one or both eyes; sudden difficulties in walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination; and finally, a severe headache of unknown origin.
The symptoms of a stroke appear suddenly and there is always more than one symptom at a time.
The doctor pointed out the importance of knowing how to detect these symptoms and of being prepared to act rapidly to help oneself or to help someone else.
Dr. Saguer stressed that if we suspect that we or someone else is having any of the symptoms of a stroke, do not wait and call the emergency services immediately. He also spoke to those attending about efficient therapies to treat stroke that must be administered in hospital, but that lose effectiveness if they are not administered within the first 3 hours of the stroke symptoms appearing, so every minute counts.
After Dr. Saguer’s talk, the subject of Integral Rehabilitation after a Stroke, by Javier Asensio, physiotherapist at the Fuentesol SARquavitae Center, was dealt with, in which he explained that a period of from three to six months is considered the most important for the physical recovery of voluntary movement. Speech, balance and some routine activities can continue to be improved up to 2 years later.
Treatment is based on getting the patient moving as soon as possible, on postural control and on paying attention to any complications. Among the aims of rehabilitation was to get the patient to maintain his/her autonomy for as long as possible and to achieve maximum independence.
The attendees showed interest and gratitude for the information they were given, particularly as many of them had already been affected in some way by stroke.
Unfortunately, epidemiological studies have produced chilling results regarding this disease. Every six minutes someone has a stroke in Spain, making it the first cause of death in women and the second in men. It is estimated that a third of stroke patients die and 40% are left with a disability impeding their ability to fend for themselves.
Strokes cause more disabilities and premature deaths than Alzheimer’s and traffic deaths together.
According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), ictus or stroke affects between 120,000 and 130,000 Spaniards every year and between 10,000 and 15,000 are under 55 years of age. The mortality rate associated with this disease is 30,137 cases in 2010, of which 17,511 were women.