Instead, this World Stroke Day I would like to celebrate all the progress and breakthroughs in stroke in recent years, and all the amazing work that is being done by researchers, doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, therapists, organisations, volunteers and stroke survivors around the world.
So much has happened in stroke medicine in the last 20 years catapulting this relatively young specialty to the forefront of discussion among healthcare professionals and policy makers worldwide. We have gone from having thrombolysis essentially as our only weapon against acute ischaemic stroke in 1995, to welcoming major developments in clot retrieval procedures two years ago, promising tremendous improvement in ischaemic stroke outcomes and reduction of disability.
We have seen research and interest grow in intracerebral haemorrhages and stroke rehabilitation, stroke conferences become expedientially bigger every year and have seen national strategy and guidelines acknowledge and embrace the idea of specialist stroke centres and stroke units. We’ve even observed a drop in the prevalence of stroke and stroke mortality in some parts of the world, as a result of hard work in primary prevention and in addressing stroke risk factors in the community.
Much of this has been made possible through the tireless efforts of stroke survivors, their loved ones and volunteers who baked cakes, ran races, sung, organised events and shared their stories to raise awareness and funds to drive it all. So World Stroke Day 2017 should be all about them, because all this are their wins and successes.
This brings me back to the initial question of why I became a stroke doctor. The answer is in these short videos:
To celebrate this fantastic work with us, please visit the Stroke Association website and join a stroke event near you. Please think about your own stroke risks today. Remember that 90% of strokes can be potentially prevented by modifying 10 main risk factors.
Finally, here are a few words from the Stroke Association on this special day:
‘Ahead of World Stroke Day on Sunday 29 October 2017 the Stroke Association is asking people to help change the story for stroke survivors across the UK. The number of stroke survivors in the UK is expected to more than double in the next 20 years, rising to over 2 million people, many living with disability and needing long-term care. As the ageing population grows, the reality of stroke will be closer to home than ever before. Funding stroke research is key to find more effective treatments and rehabilitation techniques, meaning that more people could live independently, less affected by disability, and less reliant on both care providers and their families. We need to invest in priority research areas, such as cutting-edge emergency treatments, developing and rolling out new rehabilitation approaches, and understanding the cognitive difficulties that can be associated with stroke.’