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Paarl Post
A stroke is an emergency

A stroke is an emergency – even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Western Cape Government Health, across the world a drop in the number of stroke patients seeking emergency care in this time is reported, which can have a major impact in the recovery of these individuals. Western Cape Government Health facilities still offer emergency care to patients and take precautions to protect visitors from Covid-19 infection.

“It seems that less people are seeking emergency care if they think they are having a stroke,” says Dr Colette Gunst, a family physician in the Cape Winelands. In the Western Cape, strokes are among the top five natural causes of death. “Quick action, within the first four hours after you notice symptoms, can mean the difference between life, death and permanent disability,” says Dr Gunst.

A stroke occurs when the oxygen rich blood supply is cut off from the brain. If you suddenly notice these new symptoms, you may be having a stroke:

• A loss of balance or coordination;

• Blurry vision or a loss of vision;

• One corner of your mouth or face droops;

• Weakness in an arm or leg; or    

• If you struggle to speak or speak in a way that is hard for others to understand.

According to the Western Cape Government Health, if you have not previously had a stroke, staff at local clinics can help you to determine your risk for having a stroke and making changes to lower your risk. Going for regular blood pressure and blood sugar tests are essential.

People who have had a stroke in the past have a higher risk for having another stroke. You can reduce your chances of getting a stroke by quitting to smoke, drinking more water and less alcohol, managing your stress by regular exercise and including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

If you suffer from a chronic condition such as hypertension or diabetes, it is important to continue with your treatment and medication according to what your healthcare practitioner advised. Never stop your treatment without consulting your doctor. As chronic patients have a higher risk of contracting severe Covid-19, you can arrange with your clinic to deliver your medication (if they offer this service) or to provide you with two months’ supply to reduce the number of times you must visit the clinic. - SOURCE: Western Cape Government Health

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