SPMC notes spike in stroke

SPMC notes spike in stroke
Photo by Mark Perandos

An official from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC)-Department of Emergency Medicine said they have observed an increasing number of stroke patients for the year 2023.

Dr. Alisa Betina A. Lim, chief resident of SPMC’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said during the Kapehan sa PIA on Friday, December 15, 2023, at the NCCC Mall VP, that at present they are catering to an average of five to six stroke patients per day in the emergency room.

"We have an increasing trend of stroke patients, maliban din doon [apart from that], there is an increasing trend of people, especially the elderly coming in the Emergency Department complaining of headache and elevated blood pressure," she said

Lim added that they have seen an upward trend in the number of stroke patients for the whole year of 2023. Based on their records, she said, most of these patients are in their early 40s to late 60s and they usually have comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension. She emphasized that at parties they often overindulge in alcohol and fatty foods as they forget to take their medication which is a risk factor for stroke. 

Dr. Kenny Gene R. Salvador, Emergency Medicine Specialist at the SPMC’s Department of Emergency Medicine, added that they are currently looking at the increase in the trend as they anticipate an increase in the number of medical illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and trauma injuries due to alcohol intoxication, especially during the holidays.

Salvador stressed the importance of getting a follow-up check-up from a medical professional to control their current illness. He said that patients with comorbidities should talk to their doctor and ask what food they should consume and what they should avoid since these things get neglected during the holidays.

He explained that stroke, as a condition, occurs in general when there is not enough blood supplied to a particular part of the brain. Most of the time it is because either there is a blockage or there is a blood clot in the veins, which prevents the blood from supplying oxygen to the brain, or there is a vein that erupted due to heavy pressure. 

There are tell-tale signs that a patient is experiencing a stroke hence, people should remember the BEFAST: B stands for balance, E stands for eyes, F means Face, A stands for arm, S stands for Speech, and T means Time is of the essence. 

Also, some of the signs that people experience when they suffer a stroke are if their face is no longer asymmetrical, slurring of speech or change in tone of voice, or some part of their body is numb.

 “There is no time to wait once ma-identify nimo na three signs seek immediate consult because we only have a limited amount of time to intervene if that is indeed a stroke so go to the nearest emergency department preferably, kanang naay CT Scan (There is no time to wait once the three signs are identified, immediately seek consultation because we only have a limited amount of time to intervene if that is indeed a stroke so go to the nearest emergency department, preferably with a computed tomography scan [CT-Scan]),” Salvador said. RGP


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