World Stroke Day 2015 | Western Cape Government

World Stroke Day 2015

Stroke bannerAnyone is at risk of having a stroke.  We can’t change factors like getting older and having a family history of stroke or heart disease. 

However, we can change unhealthy habits like smoking, being overweight or not exercising enough. Reducing your chances of suffering a stroke starts with living a healthier and more active life.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain suddenly become blocked or burst. When this happens, part of the brain can’t get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so the affected brain cells die. 

This can result to parts of the brain being permanently damaged. You may experience feelings of shock, fear and panic, which stems from not knowing what's wrong or whether you will recover. 
Recognising a stroke: Smile, Talk, Raise both arms (STR)

There are varying effects of a stroke, from passing weakness or tingling in a limb to severe paralysis, coma or death. 

Woman raising arms

 By asking the individual these 3 simple questions, you’ll be able to determine whether or not he or she is having a stroke. 
S - Ask the individual to Smile
T - Ask the person to Talk (simple sentence) 
R - Ask him or her to Raise both arms
If the person has trouble with any of these tasks, call the ambulance and seek medical attention immediately. 
Potential causes of a stroke

There are various risk factors which contribute to a stroke, such as hereditary (family history) factors as well as lifestyle habits. While some risk factors, such as family history cannot be changed – the following risk factors can be changed or managed:
•    High blood pressure.
•    Atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat).
•    High blood cholesterol.
•    Smoking.
•    Physical inactivity.
•    Poor diet and excessive alcohol intake.
•    Being overweight.
•    Diabetes.
•    Use of illegal drugs such as cocaine and crystal methamphetamine (tik).

What can I do to prevent a stroke?

healthy eating
Preventative measures and early detection is essential to help reduce the risk of a stroke and the effects which it may have. The following health tips may reduce your risk:  
•    Go for regular check-ups.
•    Eat healthy, balanced meals.
•    Quit smoking.
•    Increase your physical activity.
•    Find ways to lower your stress levels. 

You can contact the following facilities to assist with rehabilitation:

In-patient Support:

(A patient who stays in hospital while receiving treatment)
Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre - Tel: 021 370 2346

Out-patient Support:

(A patient who receives treatment without staying overnight)
Groote Schuur Hospital - Tel: 021 404 6458
Tygerberg Hospital - Tel: 021 938 5454
For detailed information, you can visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website, or e-mail

The content on this page was last updated on 9 November 2015