World stroke Day is geared towards raising awareness of the deadly disease and to trigger actions across spectra for prevention, treatment and better life for survivors. World Stroke Organization among national and international bodies is championing the course of stroke. In this interview with Daily Sun, Dr Christopher Ihenacho tells gives insight on precautionary measures to live a stroke-free life.
Briefly tell us about stroke
Stroke is a medically called cardiovascular accident. That is, cardio is heart, vascular is the blood vessels. In most cases it happens in the brain because of the high blood pressure, when the blood pressure is very high, let’s say from 200 upward, now the tiny blood vessels in the brain called aterioles can break and blood will flow inside the brain, so we call it hemorrhagic cardiovascular accident, that’s when the blood flows inside the brain. Sometimes, the blood Will not flow but the arteries of the brain because of the high blood pressure, they constrict so as not to allow blood to be flowing inside some parts of the brain -you know, so that it will not damage the brain, so because of that, that part of the brain will be starved of oxygen, leading to stroke also, we call this kind infraction of the brain.
A quick one, at a point, can stroke lead to madness because the way you…?
(Cuts in)…if the brain part is depressed at that initial time, the person cannot run mad, he/she may not be very able to move because the legs and hands are paralysed. For instance, most part of the brain controls a lot, like the medullar oblongata controls most of the internal organs while the brain hemisphere controls most of the movement of hands and speech. You know at the configuration of the brain, the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body while the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. The reason is to maintain harmony because if the right side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the left side of the body, whatever each side of the body does the other part will not know and it shows lack of coordination of the body.
That is why when you do anything, for instance, with your right hand, automatically your left hand is aware. So the hemispheres which are the bulky part of the brain, the medullar and other attachments like the chasma optical under the brain floor which controls the eyes, they also crossed. They left chasma optical controls the right eye and vice versa, they are all working in harmony. So this stroke happens mostly at the hemispheres, either the blood will flow within hand, speech even the eyes and occupy such places, that place is depressed, therefore, the person may lose either one hand of the body when it happens within the right side or the left, depending on where it happens, the person may have two hands paralyzed or upper hand or anything at all, even the speech can be paralyzed depending where the accident happen.
The stages of preventing stroke differ. One, the government has a lot of roles to play. The individual in the society has a lot to play and the person has a role to play too. So, by this division we can know how to prevent it. You know when things are not going well, for instance; no employment, no money, and there are a lot of stress in the society, people will start having hypertension.
But if everything is working well, the atmosphere is good and less tension in the country, then, hypertension will be low and stoke cases reduced to the barest minimum.
So if the government provides the enabling environment and peaceful atmosphere, making policies that are for human beings, then people will live a less stress life. But whereas the people have no job yet pay high taxes, increase in electricity, fuel, inflation influence high, some people cannot pay their children school fees, some can’t feed well, there is tension in the country, bandits and herdsmen are displacing people and the government with its agents are not being friendly with the people, the rate of fear is high, then some person’s start having hypertension and stroke sets in.
Do you believe in spiritual cases of stroke?
I’m a medical practitioner, I don’t believe in such fables. What we believe is what we can see and what we are dealing with. Stroke as I told you are cause by hypertension or any accident that can cause infraction of the brain. So there is no such thing like that. But we take those measures as I said, and if the environment is okay, I remember in the 1960s when Nigeria was a bit better, people were living very well, no body was having all these tension in the land, all these tension were not there. I was born in the north and I grew up there, we used to enter the bushes for hunting, but now herders come and kill people even in a strange land and go with it.
If the society is tensed up, you don’t expect the people to live very well. So it’s not a spiritual matter, it is mostly societal. So let us look into our society and personal life to see reasons, when we look into what government is doing and how the people are fairing, when the government is increasing fuel price, no social welfare, increase in taxes and other policies, you mount pressure on the people, automatically you expect them to die.
Are there cases that defy medical administration on a stroke patient?
No, for instance, if someone has stroke, we do test run, x-ray and other test, we locate where the problem is, it depends the technology deployed, but if dictated, the blood is wipe out and put the brain in the in the right perspective, the person Will come out without any problem, so it depends on the technology deployed. It’s a gradual process. Stroke does not go instant, it takes time, and for the fact that it has not gone does not mean it won’t go.
It is better you take the person to hospital, doctors know what to do. Now, let me warn; one, while stroke happens mostly of the time -it’s because of negligence from the patient. Some people take it as a joke, as far as there is no pains, or any disability does not mean your blood pressure (BP) is not rising, and some feel that especially young people, they think they are too young to take medicine, and when it happens like that they take their medicine occasionally when they feel certain threats in their body.
For instance, when they have serious headache, they start looking for their BP, when it read 180/200, they start looking for their medicine after that time their lifestyle continues. NO! it’s not like that, we must know that once your BP rise to 170/180 you regard yourself a BP patient and make sure you follow instructions especially not leaving your medicine anywhere you are going to, you take it, and most importantly, pay more attention to that BP.