Every day, worldwide, tens of thousands of people’s lives are changed for the worse because of a stroke. In the United States every 45 seconds someone will suffer a new or recurrent stroke; every 3.1 minutes someone will die from a stroke.1 Others will have warnings of stroke, which will go largely unheeded, and if heeded, often will go unaddressed. And yet, many strokes can be prevented and treated.
During the 5th World Stroke Congress in Vancouver, Canada, on June 24, 2004, a World Stroke Day was proclaimed. The Proclamation aims at highlighting the magnitude and importance of stroke and showing the path to redress the growing problem.
The Proclamation’s background document draws attention to the growing epidemic of stroke, heart disease, and cognitive disorders. It points out that much could be done by implementing what we already know and coordinating and leveraging ongoing efforts. The Congress brought together individuals from diverse organizations to explore how they can work jointly worldwide. The Congress witnessed the formation of a World Stroke Federation, which brings together organizations engaged in the fight against stroke and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the Heart Forum has been expanded into the Heart and Stroke Forum, to coordinate and enhance efforts to stem vascular disease.
Although a World Stroke Day profiles the problem once a year, the fight against stroke is a daily struggle that must be won.
- Received February 25, 2004.
- Accepted February 25, 2004.
Goff DC Jr, Working Group. A Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke. U S Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta, Georgia; 2003: 3.