10 percent of Yemenis are affected by stroke every year, said doctors [Archives:2007/1028/Health]

February 26 2007

Taiz Bureau
“A stroke occurs as a result of stoppage of blood to the brain or an insufficient amount of blood to the brain, which causes a defect in the blood vessels,” explains Dr. Nezar Al-Naser, a specialist in heart and blood vessels.

“Five to 10 percent of Yemenis age 45 and up are affected by stroke every year and 7 percent of those affected by stroke suffer from heart disease and diabetes,” she added.

Dr. Abdullah Saif, head of the cardiac center at Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz, explains, “A stroke occurs as a result of brain arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure or emotional stress, in addition to chewing qat because of the herbicides it contains.”

Dr. Sa'eed Al-Sharabi, specialist in heart and blood vessel diseases, clarified the risk factors for stroke, noting, “The main cause of stroke is the thyroid, which causes irregularity in blood flow to the heart, in addition to diabetes.”

However, the causes of stroke in patients under 45 years old are different. “Strokes occur in those under age 45 due to cerebral infraction as a result of the blockage of one of the cerebral arteries supplying blood to the brain,” Al-Naser stated.

Stroke patients can be saved if they receive prompt treatment. “Every minute that passes without taking care of a stroke victim increases the possibility of damaging more parts of the brain,” Al-Naser stressed.

The numerous stroke symptoms vary according to a patient's age. Patients age 45 and up “may suffer headache, vertigo, stupor or paralysis in one of the brain halves,” Saif explained.

However, patients under age 45 may experience other symptoms. “In this case, blood doesn't go to the brain for several minutes, thus causing numbness, facial paralysis of the face, disorder in the sight of one of the eyes or difficulty walking, talking and understanding,” Al-Naser described.

According to specialists, the most prominent risk factor is the progression of age wherein the possibility of infection doubles every 10 years and most of cerebral infections occur after age 70 for men and after age 74 for women.

“Internal blood loss occurs as a result of the tearing of a small artery, thus causing slight paralysis, fainting, general or topical spasms, nausea and vomiting.” Saif explained

Regarding the number of stroke patients Taiz's Al-Thawra Hospital receives monthly, Saif notes, “The hospital averages five cases monthly consisting of more men than women.”

He estimates the rate of recovery is 99 percent if the patient is taken to the hospital early.