Dušan M. from Serbia was proud that he could eat a lot of greasy and salty food, smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and never had a sick day in his life, until he was 49 and had a stroke while trying to tie his shoelaces and go to work.

-I hate that although now I do everything right, the damage is done, I can’t go back to how I was before- he says to his wife almost every morning when she helps him prepare for the physical therapy.

There are stroke risk factors which can be influenced by every one of us. Switching to a healthy lifestyle could play a big part in decreasing your risk of stroke. Find what motivates you to prevent stroke, to live longer and stay healthy, not just for your sake, but also for your family’s. Blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia), blood sugar and body weight are all manageable risk factors. Start small and control them one by one to increase your chances of a stroke-free life.


Regular check-ups save lives

The advancements in medicine have brought us new knowledge about the human body: in general about how it works, how it heals, but also how easily it gets damaged. And because of that, almost every country in the world has been trying to raise awareness about the importance of preventing various diseases. We know that stroke is the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death globally. It can happen to anyone at any age and it affects everyone: survivors, family and friends, workplaces and communities. What is more important- In 8 out of 10 cases, stroke can be prevented by adopting the healthy lifestyle changes.

Raising awareness about stroke, and the risk factors that can cause it, saves lives. Kasia Siewruk from Poland suffered from stroke at the age of 25. Before the stroke she didn’t know anything about the issue.

-I wish I knew, because knowing the symptoms of stroke would help me recognize the wake-up call – TIA (so called mini-stroke) and perhaps prevent my stroke. I’m certain that better awareness of risk factors and symptoms can save many lives and also help people in better recovery. Despite being in quite unusual situation among my friends I haven’t lost hope. Life after stroke is different, but doesn’t have to be necessarily worse.

I know that world demands from us to be aware of plenty of things, but in my opinion knowing some basic things about stroke is very important. It can happen any the time and it can happen to anyone – from infant to our grandparents, and it can happen anywhere. Fast recognition saves both life and health- concluded Siewruk.

Knowing that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis can cause stroke, leads people to take better care of their health, which lowers the possibility of stroke. Changing habits is never easy- it takes effort to change diet, watch your weight, take up different exercises, quit smoking and drinking, and visit the doctor more often.

Awareness campaigns about stroke prevention are important because they also familiarise people with the signs of stroke. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes, and the sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination are all signs that stroke has occurred. By knowing the signs, people know what to do and who to call, so “the door to needle time”(the time it takes from when first contact is made with health services until the treatment begins) is not wasted and chances for survival and recovery rise up. #StrokeEurope