Stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery

Stroke: prevention, treatment, and recovery

The following information on strokes will help you understand more about this medical issue.

Woman fainted
stroke/ iStock

Ten people suffer a stroke in South Africa every hour! This is according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

Recently, strokes have gained attention after affecting - and in some cases killing, a number of South African celebrities. 

In December, the country was shocked to learn about the passing of award-winning artist, Mampintsha, after he suffered a stroke. The late star died on December 24. His mother also suffered a stroke and died on January 15. 

Last year, beloved South African singer Lira was hospitalised after she also suffered a stroke. 

READ: Lira shares aphasia diagnosis information after stroke

In 2021, renowned jazz and opera legend, Dr Sibongile Khumalo, passed away at the age of 63 due to stroke-related complications. 

Outside South African borders, an international star who suffered a stroke and died was actress Della Reese. 

The 'Touched by an Angel' star suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and died in November 2017. Reece was also a spokeswoman for the National Stroke Association. 

According to Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, one in six deaths from cardiovascular disease was due to stroke. The health site also reports that stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability and it reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and older.


As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. 

One can adopt certain lifestyle practices to lessen their risk of experiencing a stroke.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa reports that 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented. 

CDC gives the following guide for prevention of stroke: 

- You can lessen your risk of having a stroke by eating a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber and avoiding those which are high in saturated fats, sodium (salt), cholesterol, trans fat, and fats. 

- Exercising or doing regular physical activities is recommended for lessening your chances of suffering from a stroke. It also recommends controlling your blood pressure and diabetes. 

- Going above the recommended amount of alcohol intake can increase your chances of suffering from a stroke. 

- Smoking has also been found to increase the chances of one suffering from a stroke. 

CDC recommends testing your cholesterol levels at least once every five years to lessen your chances of suffering from a stroke. 

Signs and symptoms:  

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa gives the following signs and symptoms for stroke: 

Sudden weakness or numbness in face, arm or leg (most often on one side of the body).

Sudden loss of speech, difficulty speaking or understanding speech.

Sudden confusion.

Sudden loss of vision.

Sudden severe, unusual headache.

Sudden dizziness, loss of balance and trouble with walking. 

It uses the acronym FAST which stands for: 

F – Face drooping

A – Arm weakness

S – Speech difficulty

T – Time to call emergency medical services. 


If you suspect that a loved one might be hit by a stroke or you are a victim of stroke, the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa states: 'The faster you get the affected person to a hospital, the better their chances of survival and recovery - you could even save a life! 112 (if calling from a cellphone) 10177 (if calling from a landline)'. 

Health care providers will be able to make a correct diagnoses and prescribe the right treatment. 


People who have suffered from a stroke will need to go through rehabilitation and medical support. Health officials will be able to suggest the right type of rehabilitation and support one would need in order to recover. 

READ: Tips to help your child do well in school

Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor on any health-related issues.

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