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Regular occurrence of strokes worries medical experts

Dr Joel Kiryabwire, a neurosurgeon and also the president of the Neurosurgical Society of Uganda. (NTV Uganda photo)

Nakasongola, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Neurosurgeons under their umbrella body; Neurosurgical Society of Uganda are worried about the increase in the occurrence in strokes.

Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is reduced or blocked which then stops oxygen and the flow of nutrients to the brain. As a result, brain cells start dying, hence the inability of body parts to function as expected.

In the 90s’ strokes were ranked as the ninth most common cause of death in the country. Numbers have since gone up placing the occurrence on the sixth position, among conditions that are claiming lived in Uganda. 

Figures from the Stroke Foundation Uganda, an organization that offers rehabilitation for stroke survivors show that from 2013 to date, an increase of over 100 per cent in the number of stroke cases has been recorded in the country. In 2013, the figure of Ugandans reported to have suffered a stroke and was undergoing rehabilitation were 104. This number increased to 195 in 2015 and it further increased to 326 in 2019.

Medical experts now say that if nothing is done to tame the pace,  strokes might surpass diseases such as cancer. Dr Joel Kiryabwire, a neurosurgeon and also the president of the Neurosurgical Society of Uganda says the rate at which are happening is worrying.    

Dr Ibrahim Bukenya, the Managing Director of Uganda Stroke Foundation says the figures they have do not show the complete story of strokes in the country and ads that the situation could be a lot worse than is reported.   

“The numbers we have are of survivors that have received treatment and many be heard about us. There are many more people stuck in their homes associating stroke with witchcraft. Those are people who are not documented but are suffering from a stroke or effects of the condition.” he said.   

To avoid falling victim, Dr Kiryabwire advises people live healthy lives based on regular physical activity and healthy food.   

A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death. Signs of a stroke can range from mild weakness to paralysis or numbness on one side of the face or body. Other signs include a sudden and severe headache, sudden weakness, trouble seeing, and trouble speaking or understanding speech.

Other symptoms associated with strokes are; failure for someone to blink in one side of the face, failure to control mouth and leg movements as the signs associated with the disease.

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