Abu Dhabi: Asian residents in the UAE show some of the highest prevalence of uncontrolled high blood pressure and smoking, which are two major risk factors for a stroke, a survey has found ahead of World Stroke Day on Tuesday.
Conducted by certified stroke management centre, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, the survey of 1,000 residents saw 29 per cent of Asian respondents reporting hypertension, and 23 per cent of them saying that they smoke.
“These results confirm what we already see in our stroke unit, where we admit a growing number of Asian residents, often well below the global average stroke age of 65 years. 40 per cent of stroke patients admitted to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi are Asian and 46 per cent are Middle Eastern,” said Dr Victoria Mifsud, neurologist and director of the stroke programme at the hospital.
Dr Mounir Haider, neurosurgery specialist at Burjeel Hospital, said a lack of awareness could one of the main reasons contributing to the high incidence of strokes among Asians.
“The prevalence of risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and smoking is unfortunately increasing, and with these, we see an increase in the number of strokes, especially among people as young as 30 and 40 years old,” he said.
The UAE is known to see between 10,000 to 12,000 strokes every year, and it is the leading cause of disability in the country. Strokes are also the third leading cause of mortality.
On the occasion of World Stroke Day, marked worldwide on October 29, the doctors called upon residents to pay more attention to their health even when seemingly well.
“Instead of seeing people when they’ve already suffered a stroke, it would be ideal to have people practice prevention. Many of the risk factors of stroke are seemingly silent, like hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, but the best case scenario would be to have people be aware of their risks and work to manage them,” Dr Mifsud said.
In the event of a stroke, the best course of action is of course to seek medical attention at the earliest. Dr Mifsud said clot-busting drugs can only be delivered within four-and-a-half hours of the incident.
“We lose 1.9 million neurons every minute after a stroke, so it is best to get to a hospital as soon as possible,” she added.
Stroke in the UAE
A stroke occurs every hour in the UAE.
One in every four people worldwide could suffer a stroke.
10,000-12,000 people suffer from strokes in the country every year.
It is the top cause of disability and third leading cause of death.
Only 10 per cent of stroke victims reach a hospital on time to make a full recovery.
1.9 million brain cells or neurons are lost every minute after a stroke.
Identifying a stroke
The acronym F.A.S.T. is designed to help people identify a stroke.
F stands for abnormality or dropping of the Face.
A stands for weakness in the Arm and an inability to raise it.
S stands for slurred Speech and confusion.
T stands for Time, especially as it is of the essence when someone suffers a stroke.
Other symptoms can include an unusual and severe headache, vision loss and an unsteady walk.