Dr. George Peprah, Medical Superintendent at the Takoradi Hospital has urged the public not to hesitate in reporting stroke cases, especially whenever they observed symptoms of the disease to save the situation.
He bemoaned the situation where most stroke cases got to the hospitals late coupled with the lackadaisical attitudes of health officers and the lack of CT scan facilities in the communities across the country.
Dr. Peprah, who was speaking at a church service held by the Takoradi branch of the Pentecost International Worship Center (PIWC) emphasised that the sooner a stroke victim got to the hospital, the sooner they would get lifesaving treatment.
“Stroke survivors have the best outcomes when they receive treatment in 4 – 5 hours or less. A clot-boating drug called tissue plasminogen activator may improve the chances of getting better but only if they get help right away,” he stressed.
He pointed out that there was a silent epidemic of stroke in Ghana which was not receiving enough attention because it is non-infectious.
He indicated that stroke and heart attack, both cardiovascular diseases were the diseases killing Ghanaians and were driven by hypertension.
Dr Preprah defined stroke as a medical emergency, and said prompt treatment was crucial and that prompt action could reduce brain damage and other complications.
“Major risk factor of stroke is hypertension and common among the African origin. We are so busy that we do not get time for our health but I advise members to check frequently their wellness or health status, especially for hypertension,” he stated.
He mentioned the two types of strokes, as ischemic stroke which occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients, thereby killing the brain cells in minutes, and hemorrhagic stroke which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures.
He mentioned risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and lifestyles such as lack of exercise, bad eating habits, tobacco abuse, excessive intake of alcohol, and obesity.
Dr. Peprah also noted that many Ghanaians may want to exercise and therefore, cautioned that exercise must be prescribed as a medicine by a physician since it might have certain consequences that could also affect one’s health.
Touching on the management of the disease, he cited acute management which could reduce brain damage, and long-term management which could control blood pressure and sugar level.