My Igbere people have a proverb “ka iro du, ka owu adula”. Which literally means “let there be enmity, instead of loneliness”. As a corollary, I would not even wish my worst enemy(if I have any), a stroke – especially the devastating and deadly right-sided-stroke, which is a certificate for death. I do not wish anybody dead. Let the kite perch, let the Eagle perch, even if they don’t see eye-to-eye.
Time was, when we saw, very sparingly, even in hospitals cases of stroke. What do we have today, at times, one could see 2 cases of stroke in one family. Why? May God help us. That is what we want to discuss. The epidemics of hypertension and its attendant consequences – stroke.
If you have read me up to this point, please for the sake of your family continue to the end. I shall use medical jargon very minimally.
What you must know about stroke.
1) • Do you know that, stroke is technically known as Cerebro-Vascular-Accident(CVA). That stroke results from failure of blood supply to a part of the brain. That this may be due to thrombosis or embolism or a haemorrhage in the brain from a ruptured blood vessels, usually in long standing and neglected cases of hypertension. That infarction(death) of part of the brain may occur.
2) • Do you know that a stroke is more common in men than women, we do not know the reason. That stroke can vary in severity from a minor disturbance, forgotten in a few minutes, to a major attack causing unconsciousness and death.
3) • Do you know that the severity of a stroke, depends on the position and extent of the damage. In a severe attack, the patient loses consciousness almost immediately. Death may then follow in a matter of hours: alternatively, consciousness is regained, but there is usually the lasting damage.
4) • Do you know that, a stroke may also show itself in sudden paralysis of one side, or part of the body, without loss of consciousness. Or again, it may develop over several hours, with persistent throbbing headache, vomiting, dizziness and numbness of the limbs.
5) • Do you know that, there are majorly 2 types of manifestation of stroke. a) Left-sided-stroke(left hemiplegia) – usually mild. And b) Right-sided-stroke(right hemiplegia) – usually severe and fatal.
6) • Do you know that in my donkey years of medical practice, I am yet to see one right-sided-stroke that recovered fully. That right-sided-stroke is usually more severe, more deadly, occurs in people above 50, who were diagnosed with hypertension, but abandoned the treatment for 6 months, 1 or 2 years. Most of them after diagnosis never bothered to see their doctors again, living in denial, and are usually brought back to the hospital in a stretcher, unconscious, comatose with right-sided-hemiplegia – and they usually die very shortly.
7) • Do you know that these right-sided-strokes – are usually those who collapse during public functions, and die before being rushed to the hospital, and people will attribute it to attacks from their enemies. Usually I console such families, telling them that Almighty God was equally merciful, by removing their relative with right-sided-stroke decently, instead of allowing him or her to become a vegetable – defecating and urinating on the bed, with toxic odours, unconscious, comatose and moribund. No human being should suffer such indignity.
8) • That most of the left-sided-stroke, are mild, and with physiotherapy they generally fully recover, and get totally rehabilitated. That God usually gives left-sided-stroke, a second chance, of learning to manage their lives and their hypertension better. I usually tell my patients with left-sided-stroke, that they are lucky the stroke occurred on their left. Which allows them to use their right hands and legs to attempt self rehabilitation, and live a semblance of normal life. Unlike a right-sided-stroke who has no such privileges, because It is usually more deadly.
How do we recover from stroke?
a) Recovery from stroke, depends on age, general health, and the site and size of damage. Even if recovery is possible, it may take years; but in other cases, control of the body has suffered permanent damage, with muscles paralysed or very weak.
b) Note that, the effects of stroke occur in the opposite side to the side of the brain affected (because one side of the body is controlled by the opposite side of the brain) . A stroke in the side of the brain that is dominant may also affect speech.
C) Mentally, after stroke, concentration may be impaired, but judgement and basic personality need not be.
Treatment of stroke.
• Treatment consists mainly of rest, and prolonged convalescence, with careful nursing, physiotherapy and(if needed), speech therapy.
• Drugs are sometimes used to lower the blood pressure, if it is still high, and so help prevent further damage.
• Go to the nearest clinic, chemist or pharmacy today, especially if you are above 50. Let them do your blood pressure – record it and the date and keep. After 7 days go back and repeat the blood pressure – take the 2 records to your nearest health official or doctor for interpretation. Or text them to me for guidance. Please go for your blood pressure check now, especially if you are above 50. This singular act could prolong your life. Remain medically guided.
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