UNILORIN Don warns on dangers of stroke risk factors
By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
A Professor of Medicine at the University of Ilorin, Kolawole Wasiu Wahab, has rued the enormity of the problems associated with stoke, lamenting that it is a significant cause of death and disability worldwide.
More disturbing, he said, is the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) projection that 80 percent of all strokes would occur in developing countries of the world by year 2030 adducing adoption of western lifestyle and transition from infectious to noninfectious diseases, among others, for the projected increase.
Prof. Wahab, who delivered the 230th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ilorin, said stroke is usually caused by a number of risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking, among others, adding that “the risk of stroke, however, grows as the number and severity of risk factors increases”.
The Inaugural Lecturer said: “Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world. Worldwide, 110 million people have experienced stroke and live with impacts that include severe physical disability, communication difficulties, changes in how they think and feel, loss of work, income and social networks.
“Unless conscious efforts are urgently made, the country’s public health could be overstretched, with devastating social and economic consequences. I, therefore, make these recommendations to reduce the currently high and escalating burden of stroke in Nigeria, including regular check of blood pressures by individuals.
“For those who are hypertensive, please note that hypertension is the dominant modifiable risk factor for stroke. Fortunately, with control of hypertension, the risk of stroke can be significantly reduced. Therefore, you should use your hypertensive medications religiously. Additionally, in order to keep your blood pressure normal, eat healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, reduce salt intake, exercise regularly and and maintain a health weight.
“Healthy lifestyle including regular aerobic exercises, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, reduction of red meat consumption and salt intake and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables in adequate quantities are encouraged. Even if you are not a smoker, avoid exposing yourself to the person who is smoking, because your risk of developing stroke is increased by about 25 percent through such exposure.”
He enjoined the three tiers of government to urgently embark on massive health education on stroke risk factors, warning signs and prevention for the populace through the mass media, while concerted efforts are also made to screen the people for stroke risk factors.