World Stroke Day: how to detect it and act, according to nurses

Stroke is a cerebrovascular disease that occurs when an artery in the brain closes abruptly by a thrombus – ischemic stroke – or by its rupture – hemorrhagic stroke or stroke. Every year there are more than 120,000 cases in Spain, which is equivalent to 1 every 6 minutes. It is the second cause of mortality in our country, the first in women and the first cause of disability in Western countries. A pathology that has been aggravated by the pandemic, since the strokes suffered in patients with SARS-CoV-2 are more serious, cause more long-term disability and higher mortality. Added to this are the growing suspicions that COVID-19 increases the risk of stroke.

Therefore, on the occasion of World Stroke Day that is celebrated every October 29, the General Nursing Council has published an infographic and an animated video with recommendations on how to detect it and how to act in the event of a possible case. "Stroke is a health emergency that requires urgent attention in the first 3-6 hours, since early action is essential to avoid deaths and reduce the consequences of the consequences it causes, therefore it is vitally important to detect its symptoms and act quickly. However, during the pandemic, many people have become afraid to go to the emergency room or request health care, which can be fatal in a pathology as time-dependent as this, especially when it has been proven that covid-19 is a risk factor ”, Explains Florentino Pérez Raya, president of the General Nursing Council.


If a person smiling or showing their teeth has a crooked mouth, you have difficulty moving to sit or stand up, you cannot lift your arms or grasp an object with each hand, you have trouble speaking or you do it without sense, you lose all or part of your vision, with a feeling of vertigo or imbalance and a sudden and severe headache, you may be having a stroke. For this reason, the infographic gives some simple instructions to check the symptoms, such as asking them to smile, answer a question or raise both arms. Indications that we can carry out with a third person, or in front of a mirror if we are alone. "Given these symptoms, it is essential to seek urgent health care", highlights the president of the Spanish nurses.

Photo: DMI

Stroke can occur at any age, because although its incidence increases from the 60-65 years, between 25 and 30% of those affected are under 65 years of age. But we must also bear in mind that it is in our hands to prevent it. For this, the nurses remember that “have healthy lifestyle habits, quitting tobacco, controlling cholesterol and diabetes, complying with prescribed treatments or avoiding alcohol consumption are key to prevention ”. In addition, "especially important, due to the associated risk that it entails, is to pay attention to our blood pressure, for the early detection of hypertension, especially if we have a family history, so that it is possible to establish a treatment for its control" , they emphasize.