The average age of stroke patients in Brunei is younger than those in Korea and the United States, according to studies by the Brunei Neuroscience Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC).

BNSRC Director Pg Dr Hjh NurAshikin Pg Dato Paduka Hj Tengah said that the studies showed that the mean age of stroke patients in Brunei is 51 compared to 63 in Korea and 68 in the US.

Stroke patients with their caregivers doing a performance during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Our studies have shown that 65 per cent of stroke patients are under the age of 60 years,” she said in her speech during an event commemorating World Stroke Day held recently at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC).

The director also said that more research needs to be done on the socio-economic determinants for stroke cases in Brunei.

BNSRC Director Pg Dr Hjh NurAshikin Pg Dato Paduka Hj Tengah delivering her speech during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Is it genetics? Is it culture? Is it behavior,” said Pg Dr Hjh NurAshikin, adding that more than half of the patients have multiple risk factors that recently have included a worrying trend for illicit drug use.

Other risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity and smoking – one in four people have a lifetime risk of having a stroke.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah who is also the Chairman of PJSC talking to a stroke patient during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

In Brunei, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death with an increase of 57 per cent over the past five years.

Moreover, the country recorded up to 400 new cases of stroke every year with 162 deaths in 2019 which number has gone up by 60 since 2015.

Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar, who is also the Deputy Chairman of PJSC talking to a patient during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie
The Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre building where BNSRC is based. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Stroke is not only devastating because of loss of life, but the impact of disability caused by stroke also affects a person’s livelihood, their family and their community,” said the director.

Stroke is the number one cause of disability worldwide and in Brunei.

Cabinet ministers with stroke patients during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Furthermore, the studies also showed that patients are able to receive the latest medical treatment and that the outcomes for treatment of stroke are comparable to developed countries.

“Our patients are able to receive clot-busting treatment known as thrombolysis and our centre has started to offer thrombectomy, a treatment to suck out blood clots from blocked blood vessels,” said Pg Dr Hjh NurAshikin.

Cabinet ministers and other guests seen all smiles during a performance by stroke patients during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

However, despite the treatments available, many patients come to the hospital too late.

“One study showed that only 13 per cent of patients arrived in the hospital within the crucial 4 ½ hour time window to receive thrombolysis while other studies have shown delays due to limited knowledge of stroke,” she added.

One of the exhibitions displaying food items with high-fat content during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie
One of the exhibitions displaying board games during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

This year’s World Stroke Day theme #dontbetheone is aimed at reducing the risk of stroke. It is estimated that 1 million strokes worldwide are linked to insufficient physical activity.

“The World Stroke Organisation calls on us to act on non-communicable diseases. Stroke and heart disease share the same risk factors as well as disease mechanisms and combined account for the highest number of deaths in Brunei,” the director concluded.

The event was attended by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah who is also the Chairman of PJSC, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar, who is also the Deputy Chairman of PJSC, and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (R) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah who is also the Chairman of PJSC seen painting some words on a blank canvas during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie
A caregiver at BNSRC seen painting on a canvas during the World Stroke Day 2020 Campaign Launch held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in Jerudong. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The Bruneian | BRUNEI-MUARA

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