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UNILORIN Professor says six indigenous Africans develop stroke every minute of every hour

by Tom Chiahemen
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A professor of Medicine (Neurology) & Director of Centre for Research, Development & In-house Training at University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) in Nigeria, Prof. Kolawole Wasiu Wahab, has postulated that about six indigenous Africans develop new strokes every minute of every hour.

He made the disclosure while presenting a paper at the 230th Inaugural Lecture of UNILORIN, entitled: “In the Quest for a Masterstroke for Stroke.”

He quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that 80 per cent of all strokes will occur in developing countries of the world by year 2030.

According to him, 110 million people have experienced stroke and live with impacts that can include severe physical disabilities.

The don, who teaches in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences of the university, warned that this year alone, an estimated 12.2 million people will experience a stroke and 6.5 million will not survive.

“Every second stroke kills someone. It is the second leading cause of death in the world, as one in every four people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime.

“Behind these numbers are real lives. These numbers represent individuals who are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, breadwinners, loving and loved ones,” he said.

He observed that this data is very disturbing and unacceptable for a disease with a well documented modifiable risk factors and evidence-based treatment for ischemic stroke.

The Neurologist asserted that the burden of stroke is rapidly escalating and need urgent attention because it affects the most productive age group in Africa.

He further described stroke as a sudden onset of focal or global neurological deficit lasting more than 24 hours or leading to death with no apparent cause other than vascular origin.

“Stroke is fast becoming an epidemic in Nigeria. The high and escalating burden of the disease is driven by high prevalence of undiagnosed, poorly controlled hypertension and other modifiable risk factors,” he said.

Wahab advised on regular consumption of at least 12 serving of vegetables per week to prevent hypertension.

He also tasked people on regular checking of blood pressure, adding that hypertension is the dominant risk factor for stroke.

“If you are hypertensive, take your drugs regularly and engage in healthy lifestyle such as aerobics exercise, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption,” he advised.

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