Experts at the 2015 World Stroke Day celebration at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex have said that wrong eating habits and inactivity can directly affect individual’s likelihood of developing stroke.
They warned at the celebration with the theme “A healthy lifestyle” that ageing, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and physical inactivity were factors fuelling the epidemic of stroke and other non communicable diseases like stroke, hypertension and diabetes.
Professor Matthew Olaogun, a consultant neurophysiotherapist, who spoke on the role of exercises in the prevention of stroke, declared that millions of death and disability from diseases such as stroke could be averted if individuals comply with established preventive measures against stroke.
According to him, “if you walk out regularly, enough to produce sweat, you can minimise the risk of stroke in the future. For example, adults are encouraged to do brisk walking and not jogging.”
Olaogun declared that house chores are not enough exercises unless the intensity is good enough to ensure sweat breaks out, warning that inappropriate eating and drinking after exercises is also dangerous.
However, while exercising, he said it was important to also pay attention to other risk factors of stroke such as smoking, alcohol intake and high blood cholesterol level.
To encourage people to make exercising a habit, he suggested individuals doing exercises they enjoy as well as join others to ensure its sustainability.
Olaogun who remarked that prevention of stroke was the only affordable option for a developing country like Nigeria, noted that more men develop stroke than women although the disease tends to kill more women than men.
He pointed out that people should be wary of a sudden severe headache with no known cause lasting for less than five minutes, saying it could be a warning sign of transient or mini stroke.
Also speaking on benefits of good diet on prevention of stroke, Dr Obinna Ogbonna, the hospital’s chief dietician said good health was not just the absence of disease, but also absences of disabilities, adding that with appropriate lifestyle changes, over 80 per cent of all stroke cases are preventable.
Ogbonna, who asked that individuals minimise their salt intake, cut down on their calorie intake, including artificial food seasoners, said consumption of nuts such as walnut and groundnut is helpful in lowering blood cholesterol level, a reason some people end up with stroke.
Earlier, Chief Medical Director, OOUTH complex, Ile-Ife, Professor V A Adetiloye had stressed the importance of people knowing about stroke considering that it is a major cause of death and disability in Nigeria.
Adetiloye, who said many people assume that stroke only affects adults, told the audience which included students both from secondary and primary schools in Ile-Ife, never to take the disease for granted as it could affect all age groups and gender.