Stroke usually comes unexpectedly and changes life significantly. Many people become disabled due to a stroke and many do not survive.
Now scientists at the University of Queensland have found that two thirds of acute stroke survivors do not live more than a decade. Scientists are calling for better patient care to improve the quality of life of stroke survivors and their life expectancy.
Stroke is a sudden disruption in blood supply to a part of the brain, which can be caused by a ruptured blood vessel. People who survive a stroke may lose some function of their body. For example, they may partially lose control of one side of their body. However, speech may also be affected, as well as memory and cognitive abilities.
The severity of symptoms ranges widely and depends on the location of stroke in the brain as well as how quickly medical aid is administered. Acute stroke, which occurs unexpectedly and suddenly, is one of the most common causes of hospitalization and disability in Australia and the world.
Researchers at the University of Queensland analyzed data from more than 300,000 patients admitted to hospital following a sudden stroke between 2008 and 2017 in Australia and New Zealand. Scientists compared predicted life expectancy to the actual survival time after stroke.
Researchers found that only 36.4 % of the people in this study lived for a decade or more following a stroke. This means that two thirds didn’t even live a decade after a stroke, which in most cases was way short of normal life expectancy. 26.8 % suffered another stroke.
Scientists believe that improved acute stroke care could improve those statistics. Dr Kathryn Colebourne, co-author of the study, said: “We need stroke networks of care to rapidly identify patients who have had a stroke, provide them with access to important and time-sensitive treatment, such as thrombolysis, a clot busting medication, and endovascular therapy, a specialised procedure to remove blood clots in the vessels to the brain.” Scientists also believe that dedicated stroke units in hospitals could provide multidisciplinary care for stroke patients and improve their chances of survival for longer. And, of course, more large long-term studies are also necessary.
While acute stroke is usually unpredictable, you can reduce your risk by controlling your blood pressure, watching your cholesterol, taking care of your diet and staying away from tobacco. An active healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your risk of experiencing a stroke. Keeping yourself in a good shape is pretty much all you can do to reduce the risk of most diseases.
Source: University of Queensland