The health of many Maltese people leaves much to be desired. As a nation, Malta leads the EU in overweight and obesity rates on a regular basis, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Each year in Malta, hundreds of people suffer from strokes, and yet, the islands have never had a specialised stroke rehabilitation unit.
Vitals Global Healthcare have embarked on a project to change that by opening the first Dedicated Stroke Rehab Unit, which will be located at the VGH Karin Grech Hospital. Keeping in mind the Maltese proverb bniedem avżat nofsu armat (An alerted man is half-armoured), here are nine important facts that can go a very long way towards saving a life. Because in some cases, knowing really is half the battle.
1. 700 people suffer from strokes in Malta every year
That might not be a big number in the larger context of nearly half a million people, but that’s each and every single year. In fact, one in every five Maltese people are at risk of a stroke. So don’t think this isn’t something which can’t hit home, because it can.
2. Strokes are also known as “brain attacks”, and it’s all got to do with blood flow
A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, depriving brain cells of oxygen. For each and every minute a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain continues to be locked, a person loses about 1.9 million neurons. This can end up with a person’s speech, movement, memory and so much more can be affected, so the take-away here is to act fast when you notice signs and symptoms.
3. A way to easily remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke is aptly named F.A.S.T.
The symptoms of stroke are all very sudden. They range from numbness or weakness of face, arm of leg (especially on one side of the body), to trouble walking, seeing or a loss of balance and coordination. Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding can also be tell-tale signs, along with severe headache with no known cause.
Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to identify all of the above, FAST, which pinpoints stroke symptoms in a person’s face, arms, or speech, and the time it takes to do something about it.
4. The number to remember is 112
How quickly you call this emergency number will determine how quickly someone will end up receiving help and treatment… and how long-termed the effects are. Since every minute saved can go a long way in a stroke victim’s rapid recovery, immediately getting to the hospital is essential.
5. Mater Dei and the Gozo General Hospital are the go-to places for immediate and acute care
Malta and Gozo both have hospitals which provide acute care for people suffering from a stroke, but of course, actual stroke rehabilitation is just as important. That’s where the newly opened Dedicated Stroke Rehab Unit at Gwardamanġia’s VGH Karin Grech Hospital comes in.
6. That’s where the newly opened Dedicated Stroke Rehab Unit comes in
The new centre at Gwardamanġia’s VGH Karin Grech Hospital will give specialised rehabilitation treatment and care, working specifically to help stroke survivors relearn certain skills which are lost when part of the brain is damaged. Supporting all of this is their awareness campaign #StrikeOutStroke, which wants to make sure more people know how to identify and prevent further cases.
7. Of course, prevention is better than cure
And fortunately, there are very clear steps you can take to prevent strokes happening to you or your loved ones. Being physically active and keeping to a healthy diet can go a very long way, as can limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding cigarette smoke.
As with any other case, however, some people have higher risk factors, and that’s the case with people with high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol.
More information on Vitals Global Healthcare’s new Stroke Rehab Unit and their #StrikeOutStroke campaign can be found on their website.