Each year in Europe, about 140,0000 people suffer a stroke. A tenth of them are under 45 years. These strokes are the third leading cause of death among men, the second among women, the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease and the first of disability in adults. Currently, nearly 400,000 French people live with the consequences of such an accident. Stroke is responsible for more than a million and a half short-term hospitalizations. Its weight is important as financial expenditure reached 8.4 billion Euros per year.

World Day will be dedicated tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 29. This will be another occasion to remember that it is possible to prevent many of these accidents, and when they occur, it is imperative to act quickly to try to limit the consequences.

Every minute counts

Stroke is a sudden stop of blood flow to part of the brain. Over 80% of cases, it follows from the obstruction of a vessel by a plaque or a blood clot, which reduces the blood supply in the area. This is called ischemic stroke. In other cases it is due to the rupture of a vessel, causing a brain haemorrhage. This is called a hemorrhagic stroke.

In practice, the sudden onset of weakness on one side of the body, numbness, paralysis of one limb or one side of his body, a portion of the face, sudden loss of vision, headache head or violent speech difficulties should alert and react quickly because they are the main symptoms of a stroke. Anyone who notices any of these signs on itself or on one of his relatives should call promptly on the 15th. Every minute counts as the most effective treatments (those intended to dissolve the clot) can be administered in the first hours after stroke. However, currently, very few patients receive thrombolysis (which reduced by 40% disability).

When the voltage drops, the risk of stroke decreases

On the other hand, there are ways to prevent stroke that could save lives and limit the neurological squeal if they were better implemented. First, the fight against hypertension. "The best way to guard against stroke is to lower blood pressure below 140/90 millimetres of mercury and below 130/80 for diabetics," keep repeating neurologists. Whenever you reduce the voltage of 10 millimeters of mercury, down 20% the risk of stroke. In addition, treatment with statins for diabetics or people with cholesterol decreases the risk by 50%. Finally, there are other protective factors such as diet low salt, fat and sugar, exercise, lack of overweight and does not smoke.

In our country, a national plan of action against the stroke was initiated by Roselyne Bachelot, the health minister last April. She then announced that nearly 134 million euros between 2010 and 2014 will be devoted to this plane. It plans to develop the first stroke units, their number should reach 140 by the end of 2011, as against 87 now. Other objectives: to encourage the population to prevent, detect and treat risk factors that promote stroke, and reduce the risk of sequelae in learning to act quickly cover the initial symptoms. Currently, less than 20% of patients arrive in time to emergencies in order to get the best treatment.