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Women have higher risk of stroke than men, says World Stroke Organisation

07 November 2015   |   5:00 pm
The World Stroke Organisation has said that women have higher risks of stroke and are more likely to die from it than men.

woman-heart-attackThe World Stroke Organisation has said that women have higher risks of stroke and are more likely to die from it than men.

Mrs Gloria Ekeng, who is an executive member of the Board of Directors, World Stroke Organisation, said at an awareness campaign programme in Lagos on Saturday that the World Stroke Organisation had warned that stroke was being taken for granted.

She explained that there was the need to intensify awareness on stroke as it had many devastating effects.

She said “women are at higher lifetime risk of stroke and one in five women globally will experience a stroke in their lifetime compared to one in six men.

“Other than their longer life expectancy, women also have increased burden of major stroke risk factors including hypertension, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, depression and obesity.

“Furthermore, specific risk factors and settings in women include pregnancy, the post-partum period and some hormonal replacement therapies.

“That is why the thrust of this year’s stroke awareness is on women with the campaign theme: ‘I am woman, stroke affects me.’’

Ekeng, who is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stroke Care International Nigeria, an NGO, said stroke occurred when the blood supply to part of a person’s brain was cut off.

She added that without blood, brain cells could be damaged or dead; this damage could have different effects, depending on where it happened in the brain.

She said “stroke can affect the body and mobility, speech, as well as how a person thinks and feels; it also increases the risk of dementia.

“This is particularly relevant to women, given their greater lifetime stroke risk.

“Stroke is the number two cause of death and a leading cause of disability globally.’’

She noted that the campaign was in tune with theme of the World Stroke Organisation in support of women, stroke and the implication for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

“There is the need to intensify the awareness on stroke and its devastating effects as many people take stroke for granted.

“Stroke has been shown to have negative impacts on the lives of Nigerians and the country at large, contributing to great manpower and economic loss.’’

Ekeng said a study by Akinpelu and Gbiri on stroke, documented that Nigerians had limited knowledge about stroke and its implications.

She said the study documented that the knowledge of Nigerians on stroke warning signs, stroke prevention and appropriate action to be taken when there was stroke incidence was very low.

According to her, efforts must be directed at improving the knowledge-base of Nigerians on stroke and to also train healthcare practitioners on the appropriate management strategies.

“ This will go a long way in reducing the menace of stroke in our society and its attendant consequences,” she said.

She explained that Stroke Care International hosted the fourth Nigeria Stroke Assembly to commemorate the 2015 World Stroke Day on Oct. 29.

She said the NGO hosted the event in collaboration with the Nigeria Stroke Reference Group and the Federal Ministry of Health.

“We as an organisation will continue to drive the sensitisation on stroke, its warning signs and its effects,” she added.