Every six seconds, someone in this world has a stroke. Strokes are the second major cause of mortality across the world and are the third reason for disability.
However, according to a top expert, most of the cases could be prevented through lifestyle changes including eating less salt and processed food, quitting smoking and exercising more.
Speaking to The Arabian Stories, on the sidelines of the third edition of Omani-International Stroke Conference in Muscat, Dr. Amal Al Hashmi, Head of Oman Stroke Society said Ischemic stroke contributes almost 80 per cent cases in Oman. “Our figures (here in Oman), are similar to that of western countries when it comes to Ischemic stroke. Whereas the hemorrhagic stroke only represents 10-15%,” she pointed out.
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“Due to lifestyle changes, stroke has started affecting the youngsters as well and this needs to be taken care,” she said.
How to protect from stroke?
According to Dr. Amal, who is Oman’s first female neurologist, the worst offenders were high blood pressure, lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking. But there was also stress, too much alcohol, heart problems, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol in hot pursuit. None of these risk factors is new. So why aren’t we doing more, individually, to protect ourselves from strokes? There is always age, and a genetic predisposition to stroke that you are powerless to resist. “So much of the risk of stroke is modifiable by the individual,” she said. “It’s not just one risk factor, it’s a collection of lifestyle choices – all interlinked. If you exercise and eat well, you can reduce the risk,” she pointed out.
The Ministry of Health opened three stroke units in Muscat, Nizwa and Salalah. “We are looking to have more stroke units across the country in near future,” Dr. Amal added.
The two-day conference that kicked-off at Sundus Rotana Hotel, was held under the auspices of His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Talib Al Hinai, Undersecretary of Planning at Ministry of Health.