Half of strokevictims in UAE are under 45
Medics blame shocking statistic on poor diet and sedentary lifestyle
Doctors have warned many UAE residents need to undergo “urgent lifestyle changes” – as new figures revealed half of stroke victims are under the age of 45.
Dr Suhail Al Rukn, a neurology consultant and Head of the Stroke Unit at Rashid Hospital, said the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) statistics contrast sharply with the global average – which shows 80 per cent of patients are over 65.
Between 7,000 and 8,000 people in the country suffer a stroke every year – about one an hour.
Al Rukn said: “For the UAE, this is an alarming statistic and it calls for urgent lifestyle changes and an increase in awareness.”
Al Rukn blamed sedentary lifestyles, diabetes, obesity, dependence on fatty foods and a diet high in salts for the worrying statistic.
He said the average intake in the UAE is almost eight times the international average.
Al Rukn said: “In the UAE, 18 to 20 per cent of the population is obese, 20 per cent of population are diabetics.”
Describing recent cases, Al Rukn told 7DAYS: “I dealt with a 31-year-old Egyptian expat yesterday, who suffered a stroke that affected his right side and his ability to speak.
“Another time I dealt with a 23-yearold man who suffered from a stroke and currently he’s handicapped.”
Al Rukn said that neither of these patients was overweight – but both were heavy smokers with high blood pressure.
Dr Al Rukn said that the diet of many people in the UAE is putting them at risk of a stroke. He said: “The high salt consumption is a major issue. The average amount of salt needed on a daily basis in 2 grams, however, the average amount of salt people in the UAE consume per day is 15 grams – which is way above the required limit.” Those already at risk can reduce the chances of having a stroke with simple lifestyle changes, Al Rukn added. He said: “With the World Stroke Day coming on October 29, I would like to address that in many cases a stroke can be prevented. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting your blood pressure checked would make a huge difference.” Doctors recommend the public be aware of the signs of a stroke – the FAST test – as quick treatment means the difference between a recovery and a life of disability. Key signs are the face falling to one side, a failure to raise the arms and slurring speech.