Half of stroke­vic­tims in UAE are un­der 45

Medics blame shock­ing statis­tic on poor diet and seden­tary life­style

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi

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.

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