Stroke claims nearly 6.7 million lives each year


ISLAMABAD: Leading neurologists at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) on Saturday said that stroke is the second most common cause of death in the world, causing around 6.7 million deaths each year, by claiming a life every five seconds.

They said this while addressing a public awareness walk organised by SIH in connection with World Stroke Day. A large number of people from different walks of life participated in the event.

The experts said that every two seconds, a person in the world suffered a stroke. The burden of stroke, in the form of illness, disability and early death, was set to double worldwide within the next 15 years. According to data available in this connection, almost one in eight deaths worldwide were caused by stroke.

On the occasion, SIH Neurology Department Head Dr Maimoona Siddiqui said that stroke was caused due to restriction of blood flow to a certain part of the brain, adding that without blood, brain cells could be permanently damaged or even die out.

She said that depending on the part of the brain which got affected and how quickly the person was treated, the effects of stroke on survivors could be devastating and affect certain senses, including, mobility and speech, as well as the overall well-being of patients.

Dr Maimoona further said that stroke was the leading cause of death and disability globally. She said it could happen to anyone at any age, and impacted everyone alike, including survivors, family and friends, workplaces and communities, while adding that stroke also increased the risk of dementia.

Moreover, she said that in Pakistan the annual mortality rate per 100,000 people from stroke had increased by 40.9 per cent since 1990, at an average of 1.8% a year, adding that 350,000 Pakistanis suffered from stroke every year.

Dr Maimoona also said that mortality ranged between 11 to 30 per cent, amounting to 118,545 lives, including 61,289 women and 57,256 men, while adding that 80 per cent of all strokes were preventable.

She briefly described the clinical presentation and risk factors, importance of educating general public and purpose of organising such events to effectively counter stroke.

Meanwhile, SIH Consultant Neurologist Dr Raja Farhat Shoaib stressed that a person should take certain measures to avoid getting a stroke, including control high blood pressure, indulge in moderate exercise five times a week, eat a healthy and balanced diet, reduce cholesterol level, maintain a healthy BMI or waist to hip ratio, stop smoking, consult a doctor and get educated about stroke.