Stroke awareness campaign
Key messages are to ‘Stop Stroke’ and ‘Spot Stroke’.
The Stroke Services Improvement (SSI) supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH), has launched Singapore’s National Stroke Awareness Campaign 2019 “Be Stroke Smart, Be OK” on the first day of Stroke Awareness Month in October. The 2019 campaign comprises of two key messages – ‘Stop Stroke’ raises awareness of stroke prevention and ‘Spot Stroke’ educates on stroke symptom recognition.
One in four people will suffer a stroke. It is an alarming reality that stroke can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time. Stroke results in devastating long-term consequences and is the leading cause of adult disability. Two-thirds of stroke survivors are often left with long-term disability. Early presentation to hospitals for acute stroke treatments have been proven to significantly improve stroke patients’ outcomes.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Singapore and is a major reason for hospitalisation. The National Registry of Diseases Office reported that there were 7,741 cases in Singapore in 2017. With Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, the burden of stroke is expected to increase.
Data show that 80 percent of strokes are preventable. There are 10 key modifiable risk factors of stroke which can be addressed with appropriate control and a healthy lifestyle, and these include hypertension, high waist-to-hip ratio, smoking, an unhealthy diet, low physical activity, diabetes, heavy alcohol intake, psychosocial stress/depression, heart causes and lipid levels.
The “Be Stroke Smart, Be OK” campaign aims to increase public awareness on stroke prevention, targeting three common risk factors of stroke: hypertension (high blood pressure), atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm) and smoking. Hypertension is a condition where blood is pumped around the body at a high pressure. Uncontrolled hypertension increases stroke risk by four times. Smoking increases stroke risk by 1.5 to 2.5 times and quitting smoking is proven to reduce the risk to that of a non-smoker after two to five years. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a disorder of the heart rhythm that increases stroke risk by five times but this risk can be lowered with appropriate treatment.
“Singapore’s “Be Stroke Smart, Be OK” campaign complements the World Stroke Organization’s campaign and mission to reduce the burden of stroke. Stroke is mostly preventable and treatable but public education is key. According to Assoc Prof Deidre Anne De Silva, SSI chair and the National Neuroscience Institute’s senior consultant neurologist, “Many stroke patients do not arrive to the hospital early enough to receive treatments proven to improve outcome. It is important that everyone can recognise stroke symptoms and know what to do. Many of my patients have told me that the reason they came quickly to the hospital and received acute treatments is because a family member, colleague or often a stranger, knew the right action to take by calling for a SCDF ambulance.”
The official “Be Stroke Smart, Be OK” campaign visuals will be displayed island-wide on MRT trains, table tops, bus shelters and digital media. In addition, the campaign will be on SSI’s social media channels; @spotstroke on Instagram and Facebook. In addition to the 2019 campaign, SSI has collaborated with the National Library Board (NLB) for a series of stroke awareness talks from September 13, 2019 to November 26, 2019 at various library branches. For more information on this or to register, visit: https://www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary.
Other events happening during the World Stroke Awareness Month include:
• Stroke Support Station (S3) is organising an annual roadshow event on October 19, 2019 with the theme being “Stroke Awareness and Prevention”. The event at Jurong Point, Level 1 atrium from 10am to 5pm hopes to improve public awareness of stroke, and highlight the importance of reducing the burden of stroke through prevention and optimise recovery. The event also serves to promote S3’s Stroke Wellness Centre, which was launched in May this year at Jurong Point.
• Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) is organising a community walk on October 12, 2019 titled “Stepping Out for Stroke”. It aims to raise funds for SNSA’s programmes supporting, educating and advocating for stroke survivors and their caregivers. To sign up, visit: www.snsa.org.sg/steppingoutforstroke2019/.