What is Stroke?
Stroke sometimes referred as a cerebrovascular accident CVA), is a disease that affects the blood vessels at neck or brain, causing disturbance of blood supply to brain or causing pressure to brain, leading to the rapid loss of brain function.
Effects of stroke:
The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs, brain cells and body functions may be permanently damaged, it may even cause death.
Urgency of Stroke:
A stroke is a medical emergency, require urgent treatments in order to minimize the chance of permanent neurological damage and death.
How common is stroke?
Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in Hong Kong. There were around 25000 stroke cases happened every year, around 68 stroke cases happened every day.
How stroke be compared with heart attack?
Heart attack is more common than brain attack, ranked the second killer in Hong Kong. Both heart attack and brain attack (stroke) are due to vascular disease of various causes. Patients suffering from either one of them have similar chance of being death. However survivors of heart attack can enjoy normal life without any physical disability, most of the stroke survivors however are permanently handicapped. Thus stroke is leading to a tremendous impact to patients themselves, their family, their social life and the whole society.
Physical Impact of stroke:
Depend on the type and the severity of stroke, among all stroke patients, stroke caused death in 25%-60% of them and caused permanent disability in 75-90% of them. Therefore disabling stroke survivors is the leading cause of disability in our community.
Family impact of stroke:
Stroke not only disable a patient, but it also disable patient’s whole family (spouse, parents, offspring and other relatives). To take care a stroke patient, the whole family exhaust their efforts in term of physical supports, psychological supports, financial expenditure and loss, and disturbance of their normal social life. Stroke not only disrupt the long term family planning i.e. offspring’s education, but also the harmony of the whole family.
Psychological impact of stroke:
Depression and suicidal tendency are common among stroke survivors and their relatives.
Financial impact of stroke:
Not only the stroke patient loss his regular salary income for a long period or for life, but also his or her spouse or parents who take care the patient. In addition to the medical expenditures required for stroke care and rehabilitation, the whole family faces a huge financial burden.
Impact of stroke to our community:
Stroke causes huge financial cost to our community and Government. Not only the direct cost involving in the medical care for stroke patients is huge (acute phase, rehabilitation phase and infirmary phase), but also the indirect cost. The indirect cost involves the loss of productivity of the patients themselves and that of their care-takers, also involves the indirect economic loss due to familial and social harmony.