Every year, over 16 million people all over the world suffer a stroke. Stroke is a leading
cause of death and disability worldwide. It is more common in men than in women. In low and middle-income countries like Nigeria, stroke is most common in the middle age group (the forties to sixties) but also seen in young people. The most common cause that can be treated is uncontrolled hypertension.
A stroke is a brain attack that occurs due to a sudden cut-off of blood flow to a part of the
brain. It is a medical emergency.
How does a stroke happen?
He went to bed last night, hale and hearty. Even when he woke up to urinate in the night, he was still fine. Only for him to wake up this morning and he could not get out of bed because he could not move his body without help. Someone dropped a charm at his door post, which
he stepped on when he went to urinate. This is not a medical problem. We have to take him for serious prayers to reverse the effects of the charm.
She had a misunderstanding with her neighbour in the market. There was an exchange of words and in the heat of the arguments, her neighbour said to her “I will deal with you!’ That was it. She just started speaking as if there was water in her mouth and her face turned to one side. She couldn’t raise her hand again. We’ve always known that woman to be diabolical and this is a classic example of what she can do with her evil powers. Little wonder people are afraid of her. The market women would have meted out jungle justice on her for refusing to reverse what she did immediately. Her saving grace was the security personnel who came in swiftly and whisked her away from the angry mob. She even had the temerity to deny it, when it was so obvious. The nerve!
He was just talking and laughing with us now. He said he needed to rest because he had a little headache. Next, we saw someone falling and fainting. They said it was a stroke. How? He’s been healthy. Never been sick in his life. Village people have sent black magic to cut short our joy. We must send this sickness right back to the sender!
These 3 scenarios are common presentations of stroke. A stroke happens suddenly because a cut-off of blood supply to a part of the brain also cuts off oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain cells and then they begin to die off. When the part of the brain that controls speech, muscle strength, movement, or memory is affected the individual will experience a loss of those functions.
Stroke is NOT a spiritual attack caused by village people or evil spirits as you have been made to believe. You need to disabuse your mind of this belief because when you hold on strongly to this, you will certainly go seeking spiritual help first for a medical emergency while the time window in which intervention would have started passes by. Time is the brain, the longer the interval between a stroke and medical intervention, the more the number of brain cells that will die and the worse the outcome.
Why does a stroke occur in healthy persons?
A seemingly healthy person who has suffered a stroke might have been moving about with
high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and
other risk factors which he/she was not aware of before the event.
Some of the factors that expose a person to the risk of having a stroke do not have symptoms and if you do not have a routine medical check, you may never know that they exist.
This means that the person you assume to be healthy may have been unhealthy after all.
Are there different types of stroke?
There are two types of stroke. Ischaemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischaemic stroke is the type in which a clot blocks a blood vessel carrying blood in the brain.
It is more common and constitutes 80 to 85 percent of all strokes.
Hemorrhagic stroke is the type in which a blood vessel in the brain bursts or breaks and leaks blood into the brain. This constitutes about 15 to 20 percent of all strokes.
A stroke is a sudden event that needs urgent medical attention. When there is a blood clot blocking a vessel in the brain, the symptoms can be reversed if the person gets to the hospital within three hours. Treatment to immediately dissolve the clot can reverse the
weakness and paralysis but can only be instituted if the person is seen and a brain scan confirms a blockage within 3-4 hours of the event.
In the next series, we will throw more light on the causes of stroke, the symptoms of stroke and how to recognize it, and what you can do to help the person who has just suffered a stroke.