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A patient at Military Hospital 108

18-year-old Trinh Thi Thanh from Hanoi was admitted to the Military Hospital 108 after falling into a coma and becoming paralysed. Test results show that she had had a stroke and the situation had turned for the worse. She faced high risk of death if not treated in time. The doctors had to use various measures to save her in 40 days.

Meanwhile, a 39-year-old patient at Bach Mai Hospital was less fortunate and couldn't survive the stroke. His family said he had a headache and took medicines but the pain actually got worse. He then had a seizure and vomited. Despite the doctors' effort, he died from the stroke.

According to the WHO, strokes are the third most common cause of death in the world after cancer and coronary heart disease. The number of strokes is expected to increase to 1.2 million cases by the year 2025.

In Vietnam, strokes are the top most common cause of death and disabilities. In the past three years, the number of admitted patients has also sharply increased. It is estimated that there are 200,000 new cases are reported each year, 50% of which is fatal. Among the surviving patients, 90% faced severe after-effects such as cognitive disorders, loss of mobility, speaking or swallowing difficulties.

The number of male patients is four times higher than that of females and the age range is getting younger.

The cause of strokes hasn't changed. However, the ages of patients have become younger due to lifestyles and diets. Luong Tuan Khanh, director of the Rehabilitation Center in Bach Mai Hospital, said 50-60% of patients aged 30 and over were admitted due to high blood pressure. Patients less than 20 years old were admitted due to cerebrovascular malformation.


"People must be careful if they are fighting with obesity or have diabetes and have family members that have suffered from strokes," Khanh said.

Doctors have also blamed fast food consumption, lack of exercise, and alcohol abuse for the increased number of stroke cases.

Dr Nguyen Xuan Khoa from Hanoi Heart Hospital said patients must be treated within three to five hours after a stroke. Rehabilitation also plays an important role in helping patients recover their health.

If the patients are admitted in time and follow instructions then 70-80% that they can walk again after four to six weeks of exercise. However, some families worry that exercising may trigger another stroke and force the patients to lie still for months.

"Doctors already recommend exercising three to four days after the stroke," Khanh said.

But more importantly, young people should adopt more healthy lifestyles to avoid strokes in the first place.