May is Stroke Month: Dr. Gaden Osborne urges a ‘grassroot’ approach to stroke prevention in Antigua and Barbuda

Medical illustration of a brain with stroke symptoms

May is designated as Stroke Awareness Month, aiming to raise awareness about the symptoms and risk factors of stroke, which are largely preventable with lifelong control of risk factors, particularly high blood pressure.

At our 5th Annual Cardiac Symposium in February, the Heart and Stroke Foundation brought together experts and professionals to discuss groundbreaking insights into stroke prevention. Consultant Neurologist, Dr. Gaden Osbourne, a prominent figure at the symposium, emphasized the significance of primordial prevention in his address on ‘Stroke Care in Antigua and Barbuda.’

“While we address various aspects of stroke prevention, I must emphasize primordial prevention – the proactive approach of promoting a healthy lifestyle among individuals without existing risk factors,” said Dr. Osbourne.

The key takeaways from the symposium remain: the importance of taking proactive steps to prevent stroke occurrence and promptly recognizing its signs. Individuals should be prepared to act swiftly if they or someone around them experience any of the following symptoms:

  • F – Face Drooping: Is one side of the face drooping or numb?
  • A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, or is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?
  • T – Time to Call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call emergency services immediately. Time is crucial in treating a stroke.

Dr. Osborne underscored the Stroke quadrangle, comprising: surveillance, prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation, especially for individuals in advanced age.

“In our pursuit of preventing strokes and severe disabilities, primary prevention plays an important role. Identifying and controlling risk factors is instrumental in averting strokes from occurring in the first place,” Dr. Osborne further explained.

Dr. Osborne encourages a “grassroots approach” to stroke prevention, urging individuals to take charge of their health by adopting a proper diet, reducing fast food consumption, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated, and engaging in regular physical activity. These lifestyle changes, when implemented, can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation continues to lead the way in promoting proactive and comprehensive approaches to combat heart disease and strokes.

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