Up To 80 Percent of Strokes Are Preventable and Nearly 50 Percent of Strokes Patients in the UAE are Under 45-Years-Old, say Doctors
Up to 80 percent of strokes could be prevented through greater awareness and control of risk factors, say physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi ahead of World Stroke Day on October 29.
There are two major types of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic. During an ischemic stroke, a blood clot prevents oxygenated blood from reaching part of the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts resulting in bleeding into or around the brain. Strokes cause brain damage and are one of the main causes of disability and death in the UAE.
Globally, strokes are most common in people over the age of 65. However, around half of all stroke patients in the UAE are under the age of 45, due to risk factors such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, comparatively high levels of obesity, smoking and high cholesterol.
Lifestyle changes – such as healthier diets, quitting smoking and more exercise – could play a major role in reducing the number of strokes, particularly among young people.
“The prevalence of stroke risk factors among the younger population means that we can expect to see a sharp rise in the number of stroke cases over the next 15 to 20 years, unless there is a coordinated approach to stroke awareness education. On World Stroke Day, it’s important that people get the help they need to make the necessary changes to reduce stroke risk in their daily lives,” says Dr. Victoria Mifsud, a neurologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Obesity affects around one third of the UAE population and a quarter of adults have raised blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are between two and four times more likely to suffer a stroke. Smoking doubles a person’s risk of stroke ischemic stroke and quadruples their risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Stroke symptoms occur suddenly and include weakness or numbness of the face, arm and/or leg on one side of the body, slurred speech or difficulty talking, severe sudden headache, loss of vision out of one or both eyes and loss of balance. People who suspect they or someone they know may be having a stroke should dial 999 and call an ambulance immediately.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is the official stroke center for Abu Dhabi city, which means that all patients suffering suspected stroke symptoms are automatically brought to the hospital’s Emergency Department. It draws upon expertise from its Neurological Institute, Imaging Institute, Critical Care Institute and Heart & Vascular Institute, to provide rapid, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of strokes, and rehabilitation for patients.
“Stroke treatment in the UAE has come a long way in recent years, including thrombectomy treatments to provide patients with significantly better outcomes after stroke. However, greater awareness and widespread adoption of healthy lifestyles could help reduce the incidence of strokes in the next generation,” concluded Dr. Mifsud.