Muhimbili: Stroke cases in sharp rise

30Oct 2019
Aisia Rweyemamu
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Muhimbili: Stroke cases in sharp rise

THE Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) yesterday sounded the alarm over the ever increasing cases of cardiovascular diseases, namely heart failure and stroke, with the two now the first and second leading causes of death respectively.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam when the hospital marked the World Stroke Day, Dr Patience Njenje, a neurosurgeon at MNH said it is high time Tanzanians changed their lifestyle by exercising and eating healthy diets to avoid these diseases.

This year’ massage on World Stroke Day is "1 in 4 of us will have stroke: Don't be the one."

A study published in the African Journal of Emergency Medicine in August observed that the two related diseases account for 20 per cent of hospital admissions, with stroke rising 70-fold over 43 years.

Dr Njenje said the hospital is currently receiving three to five patients per day with such problems, noting that the disease was the third leading cause of disability, accounting for 4.5 per cent of the world's disabled.

Currently world health statistics show that stroke takes second place in causing death, rising from behind years earlier.

He said that in the past stroke problems were more common in European countries but now the same was true in developing countries because people have adopted European lifestyles.

Dr. Njenje explained that the disease previously affected old people from the age of 65 but now young people are also affected.

Dr Zameer Fakih, a pediatrician at MNH said stroke in children can occur before birth, at birth and after birth.

“Statistics show that among the 4,000 newborns one gets a stroke at birth and every year 2,000 children under 18 suffer from stroke for a variety of reasons, on the basis of world statistics.

Dr Fakih noted that children who are more likely to suffer from stroke are those with sickle cell problems followed by those with cardiac problems.

"Some women get stroke during pregnancy. The disease is curable if the patient arrives at the hospital early," Dr Mohamed Mnacho said.

Dr Philip Adebayo, a neurosurgeon at the Aga Khan Hospital has also alerted that everyone is at risk of getting stroke due to changes of lifestyle whereby blood pressure has become the leading cause of it globally.

He said that the presence of stroke is huge and low income countries are affected because of changing diet and nutrition habits.

He explained that high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke because with high blood pressure there are changes among blood vessels in the brain that can make vessels be abnormal.

On his part, Dr Mugisha Clement said that high blood pressure, obesity, increase of cholesterol, smoking and use of alcohol are the main causes of stroke.

He explained that a patient with stroke symptoms is required to see a specialist within three hours after the symptoms are observed, cautioning on what people eating and the need to control their weight to stay away from stroke.

 World Stroke Day is observed on October 29 to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke cases.