The New York Times

A Consultant Physiotherapist, Dr Chris Okafor, says the incidence of stroke has increased in the country due to the dwindling economy and the state of healthcare delivery.

Okafor, who is a senior lecturer at the Department of Physiotherapy, University of Lagos, Akoka, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

The lecturer said that lack of awareness was also a contributory factor to the high incidence of stroke in the country.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), stroke accounts for 10.8 per cent mortality and 3.1 per cent of disease burden worldwide.

It has also been projected that by the year 2030, about 80 per cent of all stroke cases will occur in low and middle income countries of the world.

“A lot of people, both young and old, now come down with stroke due to poverty, lack of quality healthcare and awareness.

“We are not creating enough awareness for people to know that hypertension and diabetes, causes of stroke, are killer diseases,“ Okafor said.

He also identified poor environment, industrialisation, poor habits and attitudes as factors contributing to a lot of people not exercising regularly.

“Our environment does not encourage people to cultivate the habit of exercising.

“As a physiotherapist, when I see the elderly during clinics, I always advise them to be physically active and engage in daily walks.

“However, when you look at the environment, it does not encourage exercise, and so a lot of the elderly in the society are discouraged to walk.

“Also, habit is a challenge; many people are unable to practise, because we are in a society where, over the years, people have become lazy.

“Due to industrialisation and urbanisation, it is now difficult for people to exercise, and rather depend on buses and taxis to take them to different locations,‘’ he said.

The consultant urged the elderly in the society to maintain avoid sedentary lifestyle and high salt and sugar intake.

He appealed to stakeholders, including the government and healthcare practitioners, to continue to sensitise people to cultivate the attitude of being active.

“Exercise and being active is key to improved health; adequate sleep of eight to 10 hours daily is also advisable for the elderly people.

“Also, they should check their blood pressures and blood sugar regularly to prevent hypertension and diabetes.

“If they have problems, they should see a doctor who will refer them appropriately, “ Okafor said.

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