BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei has recorded a 57 percent increase in the number of deaths from stroke within five years, according to health ministry data.

A total of 162 people died of stroke in 2019 compared to 103 deaths in 2014, the health minister said in a statement to mark World Stroke Day on Thursday.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Brunei, with the average age of patients from 55 to 60 years, said YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar.

He said 17 percent of those who suffered a stroke were aged under 45.

“Of all stroke patients, 20 to 25 percent had haemorrhagic stroke which is caused by bleeding [in the brain], while the majority of cases were caused by blood clots,” he said.

A recent study from the World Stroke Organization showed that one in four people will experience a stroke in their lifetime. 

The minister added that stroke is the leading cause of disability among the Brunei population, similar to other countries around the world.

This year’s World Stroke Day is themed #Don’tBeTheOne, which focuses on reducing the risks of stroke.

Risk factors for stroke such as high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity and smoking can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and can also be controlled through effective treatments, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said.

The minister said leading a healthy lifestyle is very important, including eating a healthy and balanced diet and practising regular physical activity.

Engaging in 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can reduce a person’s risk of having a stroke by 25 percent, he added.

In terms of community action, a physical activity guide for Brunei Darussalam has been created to help increase the level of physical activity among the community. 

“In this regard, cooperation from all parties in playing their respective roles is very important to create an environment that supports the community to increase their level of physical activity,” YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said.

Signs of stroke:

  • Sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • Double vision or loss of vision in one eye
  • Face drooping or weakness on one side
  • Sudden weakness of an arm, and having difficulty to raise both arms
  • Trouble speaking or understanding

One should seek immediate medical attention by calling 991 even if the signs appear to cease.