In marking the World Stroke Day, Nigerian Stroke Organisation says African continent has the highest rate of stroke worldwide and urged Nigerians to be proactive to ensure they are not counted among the one out every four persons that will develop this condition.
NSO’s president, Professor Abayomi Ogun, in a release jointly signed with Professor Njideka Okubadejo and Dr Rufus Akinyemi, said Nigerians must pay attention to stroke, given that in 2019 alone, 14.5 million people will have a stroke and 5.5 million people will die as a result of the condition.
Professor Ogun, describing it as a devastating global health problem in our world, said all over the world, about 80 million people live with a stroke and its huge and costly short and long-term complications, depending on which part of the brain is affected and how quickly it is treated.
He added: “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.”
Professor Ogun, however, stated that 90 per cent of strokes are associated with just 10 risk factors, which in descending order of population attributable risk (PAR) is hypertension, dyslipidemia, regular meat intake, central obesity, diabetes mellitus, higher income level, stress, heart and blood vessel diseases, added salt at table and tobacco use.
According to him, these are risk factors that individuals can all do something about to prevent a stroke and its attendant human, social and economic costs.
He added: “Many stroke survivors face significant challenges that include physical disability, communication difficulties, changes in how they think and feel, loss of work, income and social networks.
“So, addressing these risk factors would not just have a major impact on stroke, it would also prevent deaths from other non-communicable diseases such as heart attack, kidney failure and dementia.”
The don, however, stated that healthy diets rich in green leafy vegetables and regular physical activity of up to 30 minutes every other day has been particularly shown to be protective against stroke among Nigerians.
Professor Ogun said such interventions targeting these 10 dominant risk factors for stroke also has the potential to fast track progress on stroke prevention in Nigeria and, indeed, the African sub-region.
According to him, every Nigerian must take personal responsibility for their health and be counted among the three out every four persons who will not have a stroke in their lifetime
He appealed to all individuals, families, communities and the government to take on the battle to defeat stroke and reduce stroke rate in Nigeria maximally.
According to him: “We need to ‘check our numbers’ on a regular basis; (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.”