According to the World Health Organization, to be healthy means being fully functional in terms of the physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects of our lives. This also means we must protect ourselves from ill health through efficient and speedy diagnosis of disease, adequate care and treatment of illnesses to prevent repeat occurrences, and undergoing rehabilitation for any disabilities that may result from such an illness.
The world’s human population is currently aging. Thailand is no different in this regard, with 1 in 4 of its citizens aged over 65, meaning the Thai populace is classified as aged. Living longer lives means that the number of people suffering from chronic health disorders and debilitating illnesses, which leave them to rely on the care of others, is also on the rise. This is particularly relevant in terms of strokes, which are a major cause of temporary disability, permanent disability, and death. Statistics reveal that 2 in 3 stroke victims could suffer from lifelong disabilities should they not receive timely hospital treatment for their injury.
A stroke occurs when circulation to the brain is obstructed, reduced or completely cut off. There are a number of risk factors behind stroke occurrence, such as being over the age of 65, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, stress, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
If someone experiences any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that they are suffering a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which occurs when circulation to the brain is temporarily interrupted: severe dizziness or headaches, elevated blood pressure or suddenly feeling exhausted, severe muscle weakness, numbness, balance issues or numbness down one side of the body and face, trouble speaking, a sudden loss of memory, blurred vision, and temporary blindness in one or both eyes. TIAs often results in stroke-like symptoms, although the damage caused to the brain is generally not permanent. Nevertheless, a TIA could be a sign that the patient is at risk of a stroke, making an urgent visit to the doctor essential.
Strokes can occur as a result of numerous factors, some of which are preventable and some of which are not.
The most effective treatment for a stroke is to protect yourself from suffering from one in the first place by reducing exposure to risk factors.
It is essential that the correct care and rehabilitation from incapacitating injuries be undertaken in cases where patients have suffered a stroke, in order to reduce the likelihood of stroke recurrence.
Caring for a patient who is no longer independent as a result of their stroke requires a close relationship between the hospital and the patient’s family. The best possible care should reduce the chances of future complications, including disability and loss of life, although providing high quality care may place a financial burden on the patient and their family. Placing the patient under the care of a hospital will ensure their every need is met and is generally considered safer than homecare, but home care is cheaper and more convenient.
Homecare providers can greatly improve the quality of care they provide when relevant information is provided by the hospital, either in person or through communication technologies.
The First Class Honors M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Chiangmai University, 1972.