Fast facts about stroke

09 November 2017 - behind-the-scenes

One person suffers a stroke every hour. If you don’t know anyone who has had a stroke, chances are the friend next to you does. And it affects the young too—1 in 10 stroke patients are below 50.

Still there are many myths that surround stroke. A common misconception is that stroke recovery is only a physical battle. In reality it is also a mental battle. Post-stroke depression, for example, is common and can impact survivors’ quality of life.

Suffering a stroke—or having someone close to you suffer from one—is an overwhelming experience. But Stroke Support Station (S3), a Singapore-based volunteer-led NGO, aims to foster mental resilience in stroke survivors and their caregivers through social-emotional wellness programmes. It also offers financial support and other resources and programmes. Stroke affects everyone differently but help is available.

As part of The Mindful Company's mission to promote mental resilience, we attended S3’s Open Day in October. We spoke to Dr Catherine Dong, a clinician scientist at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUHS, who designed S3’s brain health and memory training programme. She shared 7 important facts about stroke recovery and prevention.

Above: Dr. Catherine Dong, Clinician Scientist, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUHS

7 fast facts about stroke

1. The 3 biggest misconceptions about stroke

A. Stroke may only result in physical weaknesses.
B. Physical recovery means a full recovery.
C. Once a stroke survivor has full physical recovery, s/he has no problem coping at work.

2. Recognising the symptoms and acting “F.A.S.T.” limits the effects of stroke:

Face: Is it dropping on one side?
Arms: Can they lift both arms and keep them there?
Speech: Does it sound strange or unclear?
Time: Call the emergency hotline immediately if you spot any of these signs.

3. One of the biggest challenges of stroke recovery is…

Coping with cognitive (memory and thinking) problems.

4. The road to recovery is challenging and requires…

Support to address the physical, socio-emotional and psychological needs of stroke survivors and their caregivers.

5. The biggest struggles a caregiver faces are…

1. The lack of support and skills to better assist stroke survivors in their physical and cognitive recovery.
2. The need for emotional support to help them better accept the impact and changes of a stroke on their loved one.

More: 15 things caregivers should know when their loved one has a stroke 

6. One thing we can do for our friends/family who have had a stroke

Encourage and support them through the recovery journey. [Note from TMC: Two ways to start: Learn more about stroke and get support for yourself.]

7. The 2 ways to reduce the risk of a stroke

1. Reduce vascular risk factors – control your blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar and quit smoking. 
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle – have a balanced and healthy diet, be physically active, sleep well, maintain a healthy body weight, do regular health screenings.

You can support S3 by volunteering your time and resources so that they can reach out to more stroke survivors and their caregivers.

Contact S3 if someone you know requires stroke support.