Dubai hospital sees 600 stroke patients
Dubai, January 22, 2014
More than 600 patients have been admitted with a stroke at Rashid Hospital, a healthcare unit under the Dubai Health Authority network, since its establishment in early 2012, said a top official.
Dr Suhail Al Rukn, stroke and neurology consultant and head of stroke unit at Rashid Hospital, said: “Stroke is third leading cause of death in the world and the main reason for adult disability. In the UAE, after road accidents, it is the second leading cause of disability.”
“Annually 7000-8000 patients in the UAE get a stroke; this means every hour, one person gets a stroke. Internationally the number is 100 to 120 cases per 100,000 so we are within the international range; however, unfortunately in the UAE stroke patients are much younger than those in western countries.”
“Abroad the average age of a stroke is above 65 years, here it is 45 years. Can you image the impact this has on the patient and his family? Stroke causes disability and when an active member of the family is unable to continue hearing or lives with reduces mobility, the full family is affected.
“The reasons for people getting a stroke at such a young age in the UAE are multifactorial – a high percentage of our population suffers from diabetes and hypertension. Obesity is huge problem in our population and so is sedentary lifestyle – all these are triggers that can lead to a stroke,” he added.
Rashid Hospital’s stroke unit is the only dedicated stroke unit in Dubai which functions round- the -clock. The other dedicated stroke unit is in Al Ain.
“Given the prevalence of strokes we would encourage more hospitals to set up dedicated stroke units that follow essential protocols to minimize the irreparable damage caused to the brain cells during a stroke,” Dr Al Rukn said.
“The thing about strokes is that it occurs suddenly and the damage takes place very quickly, the longer it takes a person to get medical assistance, the more brain damage. An adult brain has a total of five to six billion brain cells, when a stroke occurs, brain cells start to die. It has been estimated that 1.9 million brain cells die per minute in a stroke case. Therefore, the level of disability can be quite severe as the effects of a stroke on the body are immediate.”
“Every stroke is different and strokes affect all bodily factions such as speech, movement etc. A stroke on the right side of the brain generally causes problems on the left side of the body. A stroke on the left side of the brain causes problems on the right side of the body,” Dr Al Rukn continued.
“Some strokes happen at the base of the brain and can cause problems with eating, breathing and moving. For most people, the left side of the brain controls language (talking, reading, writing, and understanding). The right side controls perceptual skills (making sense of what you see, hear and touch) and spatial skills (judging size, speed, distance and position). Despite the fact that stokes affects several functions of the body, people still do not understand the link between poor lifestyle and stroke.”
He said an important message to the community is that they should be aware of what to do in case a person is having a stroke as immediate medical intervention is important. “Unfortunately, so many people die every year and many are left to endure severe or prolonged disability because they didn’t get to a hospital quick enough after having a stroke.”
He said that a simple process can help family members identify if a person is having a stroke or not.
“It’s called the FAST test, the details are: Face: check whether the person’s face has fallen to one side and whether the person can smile or not. Arms: Can the person raise both arms or not? Speech: Can the person speak or is the speech slurred? And lastly, Time: If any of the three signs are visible, it’s important to call the ambulance right away,” he explained.
He said the first four and a half hours after the person gets a stroke are most crucial for doctors to minimize the damage to the brain and thus getting to a hospital on time is crucial.
He added that people above the age of 30 should check their blood pressure every year and that there is a strong link between hypertension and stroke. He also advocated that people should bring about meaningful lifestyle changes to minimize their risk of developing a stroke. – TradeArabia News Service