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Nigeria lacks awareness of Stroke factors

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Anything that can reduce blood vessels' size can lead to stroke occurrence.

Despite stroke being the second leading cause of death worldwide, relatively few Nigerians know what causes it or what can be done to prevent or treat it, according to medical professionals. They stressed the importance of informing the public that untreated hypertension is just one risk factor among many others that can lead to it. Experts in the field have stated that uncontrolled hypertension is not the only cause, and they also urged people who have suffered from it to get the help they need rather than ignoring the condition and not getting answers.

Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, a leading expert and a former president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, remarked that it is not only caused by high blood pressure and that hypertensive drugs do not reduce the risk of having it. More so, he added that it can still occur even if a person’s blood pressure is under control. It may occur for many other reasons besides having high blood pressure. Therefore, checking one’s health regularly is essential because it is a predictable medical emergency. While it can occur for various reasons, high blood pressure can be treated with medication.

People should get health checkups at least once a year or every six months.

He elaborated on the factors that can bring about it by stating that anything that can reduce the size of blood vessels also has the potential to lead to it. Both hemorrhagic and thrombotic strokes are possible. Furthermore, lowering the blood pressure alone will not prevent the thrombotic phenomenon. A variety of other factors can cause it; understanding these factors is essential for maintaining good health. Patients over the age of 50 who have hypertension are typically prescribed Vasopril as medication.

Taking antihypertensive medication alone is not sufficient to prevent it. One must investigate the possibility of other causes. People over the age of 40 should get their health checked at least once a year, or preferably every six months, to stay in good condition. The physician advocated for more people to be aware of ways to lessen the likelihood of having a stroke as well as how to treat patients who already had the condition. In addition to this, he stressed the importance of the government providing assistance to stroke survivors.

Many identifiable risk factors are linked to 90% of its occurrence.

The World Stroke Organization reports that 10 easily identifiable risk factors are linked to 90% of strokes. These include inactivity, poor diet, smoking, weight, high blood pressure, high blood alcohol content, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, stress, and atrial fibrillation (AF, or AFib). The group asserts that everyone, from government officials and policymakers to medical professionals, can play a role in preventing it. Also, many of its survivors have to treat their continuing limitations and health as a chronic condition because of things like the disabilities they suffered as a result of their ordeal.

On the other hand, Dr. Michael Ajala, a Consultant Pathologist, also cautioned those with hypertension to only take medications prescribed by their doctors. Being the CEO of Help Diagnostics and Checkup Services in Lagos, he explained that some herbs and supplements could have addictive properties, so hypertensive patients should stay away from them. He, therefore, stressed the importance of not combining herbal remedies with antihypertensive medication. Some of these things have addictive effects that could be harmful to the user’s health in the long run.

It’s the leading cause of death among adults in neurology units.

According to a 2019 research study published in the Scientific Research Publishing, stroke is the leading cause of death among adults hospitalized in neurology units. They pointed out that the prevalence of it in sub-Saharan Africa has risen dramatically over the past few decades, possibly because of shifting lifestyles, poverty, and inadequate healthcare infrastructures. High rates of its morbidity and mortality are associated with undernourishment and lack of other amenities. The research noted that not much is known about the incidences of it among Nigerians of lower socioeconomic status.

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