AS Nigeria commemorates the 2019 World Stroke Day, the Nigerian Stroke Organisation (NSO) says 100,000 stroke cases occur in the country every year.
In a statement Tuesday, the association’s President, Prof. Abayomi Ogun, stated that recent research identified the topmost 10 risk factors for stroke as hypertension, regular meat intake, obesity and diabetes mellitus, higher income level, stress, cardiac diseases, high salt intake and tobacco use.
Dr Babajide Saheed, Chairman, Medical Guild in Lagos State, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that bad economic policies have also contributed because “if economy is good, tension will reduce, depression will reduce and blood pressure will also reduce.”
He noted further that, “anyone is susceptible to stroke because of the stress induced by our environment, traffic, job insecurity issues, economy, infrastructure and security challenges.
With the NSO pointing out that one in four persons have a risk of developing stroke in a lifetime, NAN reports that the theme for the year is, “Don’t Be the One.”
Ogun, who stated further that stroke was preventable if the risk factors were identified and controlled disclosed that, “in Nigeria, stroke is the most common medical emergency in most hospitals and accounts for up to eight out of 10 neurological hospital admissions with at least 100,000 cases occurring every year.
“In 2019 alone, 14.5 million people will have a stroke; 5.5 million people will die as a result.
“Therefore, interventions targeting these dominant risk factors have the potential to fast track progress on stroke prevention in Nigeria and indeed the African continent which has some of the highest rates of stroke worldwide.”
According to the statement, the theme “puts the responsibility on every Nigerian to take personal responsibility for their health and be counted among the three out of every four persons who will not have stroke in their lifetime rather than being among the one out of four who will have a stroke.
“We need to ‘check our numbers’ on a regular basis. These include blood pressure, blood sugar, blood fats, weight and abdominal girth.
“Appropriate medications need to be taken regularly when the values are abnormal and require drug treatment.
“Those who smoke need to stop and alcohol should be taken in moderation.
“Healthy diets rich in green leafy vegetables have been particularly shown to be protective against the ailment among Nigerians.”
The statement advised people on regular physical activity up to 30 minutes every other day as a protective measure.
“All over the world, there are up to 80 million people who are living with a stroke and its huge and costly short and long-term complications.
“Many survivors face significant challenges that include physical disability, communication difficulties, changes in how they think and feel, loss of work, income and social networks,” it stated.
The statement called for improved access to fast and easy medical care and treatment to save lives of stroke victims and improve stroke recovery.
Saheed also hailed the need for access to affordable and quality healthcare to enhance early detection of stroke and said, “if there is a primary healthcare centre in each ward, not just in local government areas, everyone will go there before they visit the General Hospitals.”
Said Saheed: “We advise people to eat healthy, but it takes money to eat healthy, and this is why it is very crucial for the government to look at the economic policies that will reduce tension.”
He called it one of the leading causes of death worldwide after road crashes, and harped that prevention was better than cure.