Prof. Njideka Okubadejo, Nigeria’s first female neurologist, says at least one person dies every two minutes from stroke in the Nigeria.
Okubadejo, of the University of Lagos, disclosed this at her Inaugural Lecture at the University in Lagos titled “Strokes of Movement and Trips: Strategic Opportunism as Am Approach to Improve Neurological Care in Africa”.
According to her, the estimated stroke mortality rate in Nigeria is between 120 and 240 per 100,000 population. “Extrapolated to our current estimated population of approximately 184 million, according to www.population.gov.ng, this translates to about 281,520 deaths annually,” she said.
Okubadejo said “a stroke is a medical emergency in which the flow of blood to a portion of the brain stops suddenly. Brain cells are dependent on oxygen within the blood and without this, start to die after a few minutes, hence the maxim, ‘Time is Brain. Stroke symptoms reflect the area of the brain that has been injured and although recovery is possible, particularly with early intervention. Strokes can result in lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death,’’ she said.
She explained that there were two types of strokes; the Ischaemic, which the blood flow is blocked, and the Haemorrhagic, which the blood vessel breaks open or ruptures, leaking blood and damaging brain cells, due to pressure effect.
The neurologist explained on the sidelines of the lecture that addressing risk factors that cause stroke was the best way of preventing it. “The important thing to note is that some strokes will not give you the opportunity to get to the hospital. But addressing the risk factors, particularly the strongest factor, hypertension, will reduce the number of people that die from stroke everyday. If you have hypertension, pay attention to ensuring that your hypertension is treated and that your blood pressure is well controlled,” she advised.
She said that other factors that causes stroke included diabetes mellitus, heart disease and social factors like smoking, drug abuse and heavy alcohol consumption.