The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) says about more than 13 million people globally are at risk of stroke.
Prof. Baba Issa, the Chairman of Kwara Branch of the association, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Ilorin.
A copy of the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) says the alert was in commemoration of the World Stroke Day.
It said: “13.7 million people worldwide will have their first stroke this year, and five and a half million will die as a result”.
It explained that the day is commemorated every Oct. 29, which was globally established by the World Stroke Organisation (WSO), to increase awareness and drive action on the disease around the world, as it has already reached epidemic.
According to the NMA, one in four adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime.
It noted that current trends suggest that the number of annual deaths will climb to 6.7 million annually without appropriate action.
“Stroke is leading cause of death and disability globally with 116 million years of healthy life lost each year to the disease.
“It disproportionately affects individuals living in resource-poor countries. From 2000 to 2008, the overall stroke incidence rates in low- to middle-income countries exceeded that of incidence rates seen in high-income countries by 20 percent,” the statement read in part.
The association observed that two out of every three people who suffer from a stroke live in low- and middle-income countries.
It described stroke as a condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage and loss of function of parts of the body controlled by the affected parts of the brain.
“One of the main disease processes leading to stroke is atherosclerosis. It is most frequently caused by a clot in an artery supplying blood to the brain, a situation known as ischemia.
“It can also be caused by hemorrhage (bleeding) when a burst vessel causes blood to leak into the brain,” it said.
The NMA stated that stroke can cause permanent damage, including partial paralysis and impairment in speech, comprehension and memory.
It noted that the extent and location of the damage determines the severity of the stroke, which can range from minimal to catastrophic.
The association listed the types of stroke to include Ischemic or Haemorrhagic Stroke.
“There are many other risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, atrial fibrillation, raised blood lipid levels, obesity, male gender, genetic disposition and psychological factors.”
The professional body pointed out that among symptoms of the disease is that a patient suddenly have trouble with balance or coordination, experience sudden blurred or double vision, droopy face and arm weakness.
It therefore advised anyone experiencing any of the symptoms to seek medical help, adding that management of stroke is multidisciplinary.
“Individuals and groups should pay attention to their health particularly the blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids and they should be active always and report conditions of their health to their doctors.
“Some countries have specialised hospitals for stroke, and even in Nigeria some hospitals have specialised units for stroke.
“In Kwara, the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital has such specialised unit and it has improved the care of stroke.
“The Kwara State General Hospital, Ilorin, equally has Neurologists that can handle stroke and is about having a specialised unit as soon as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is completed,” it noted.
The NMA also warned that stroke cannot be treated in spiritual homes or traditional clinics as it is not caused by witches. (NAN)