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Stroke: Early identification of symptoms prevents loss of life – expert
- Updated: November 28, 2016
Photo file: moyoclinic
A cardiologist, Dr Afolabi Akinkunmi, on Sunday in Lagos said that early identification of risk factors of stroke remained the best way of preventing the life threatening illness.
Akinkunmi, President, Association of Residents Doctors (ARD), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, explained that stroke was also known as a cerebrovascular accident.
According to him, the risk factors of stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking as well as advancement in age and heart valve disease.
He said: “Stroke occurs when a part of the brain loses its blood supply to a part of the body; blood is deprived of that area and brain cells control stops working.
“A stroke is a medical emergency which can happen to anyone; however, the older you are, the higher the risk and stroke can lead to death or permanent disability.
“When the signs of stroke appear, time is of the essence to diagnose it because the longer a stroke remains unrecognised and un-treated, the longer brain cells are deprived of oxygen-rich blood.
“As such, it is important to identify the signs and risk factors, in order to prevent stroke.’’
On the symptoms of stroke, the cardiologist said there may be no warning signs of a stroke until it occurs.
“That is why high blood pressure, one of the risk factors for stroke, is called the silent killer.
“Other symptoms like speech, vision, balance, and coordination loss, helps the health care professionals locate the part of the brain that has stopped working,’’ he said.
According to him, strokes are also often described based on the function of the body that is lost, as well as by the area of the brain that is affected.
The cardiologist also spoke on the most common treatment to administer on a stroke patient.
“Drug therapy with blood thinners, airways breathing and circulation to make the patient breathe are recommended.
“Also, ensuring that the patient gets adequate blood pressure is a common treatment for someone that has stroke,’’ he said.