Acting fast can save a stroke patient’s life


  • 17 million people around the world suffer from a stroke every year
  • Boehringer Ingelheim hosted their third Stroke Academy in the United Arab Emirates
  • The event was attended by leading cardiologists and neurologists from the region to discuss stroke related diseases and therapies from prevention to treatment



Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 18, 2017– For the third year running, Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies raised awareness around stroke during their annual Stroke Academy event in Dubai. Over the course of two days, more than 150 cardiologists, and neurologists from across the Middle East and Africa region attended, to share medical insights and discuss the overall disease prevalence and the rising number of patients.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s Stroke Academy is the first of its kind effort in the region to establish a comprehensive stroke management protocol. The two day event which marked World Stroke Day included debate sessions and panel discussions around treatment and developing a patient tailored approach to prevention as well as the protocols to help establish best medical practices across the region.

Stroke can happen to anyone at any age, and impacts the patient, their family and friends, workplaces as well as communities. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), stroke is increasingly a growing health problem, with projections that deaths from it will nearly double by 2030.

Unfortunately, in the short term, with an aging population and a significant rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and risk factors such as Atrial Fibrillation that are attributable to lifestyle habits, incidences are only going to rise. These alarming figures calls for an urgent action for lifestyle changes amongst the public and more disease prevention campaigns to be implemented.

Suffering a stroke is one of the most devastating medical emergencies that can happen to a person. 17 million people worldwide suffer a stroke every year. One third of these people die as a consequence and another third are left permanently disabled.

Knowing the signs of a stroke is the first step to ensuring medical help is received immediately.

Symptoms of stroke can include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs on one side of the body, as well as speech impairment, trouble with eye sight, loss of balance and a severe headache. Some patients also have an extreme headache that starts suddenly.

Experts stress that F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke, which reflects Face Dropping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty and Time to call for support.

Time is the most critical aspect for acute stroke care, as every minute after a stroke, approximately 1.9 million brain cells can be lost permanently. This could mean that a person’s speech, movement, memory, and so much more can be affected in the long-term.

Dr. Suhail Al-Rukn, Neurology Consultant and Stroke Specialist, said, ‘‘Rapid treatment in specialised stroke units has been shown to reduce mortality, disability, complications and the length of hospital stay. Neurologists are urging the implementation of correct protocols in hospitals as they are extremely crucial in the management and treatment of stroke, which may lead to saving a life and minimising disability. The region still lacks insight on to prevent stroke and so as we mark World Stroke Day, we need to raise awareness around the importance of disease prevention and encouraging the public to start making lifestyle changes including to their diet and physical activity levels.”

A patient needs to receive treatment in less than 60 minutes, which is known as the Golden Hour as this can reduce the chances of further complications. If patients are treated within the ‘Golden Hour’ patients have a much greater chance of surviving and avoiding long-term brain damage.

Prof. Ahmad Hersi, Professor of Cardiac Sciences Consultant Electrophysiologist, King Saud University, Riyadh KSA added’ ‘This region at large has a unique cardiovascular risk profile. Atrial Fibrillation is the most common sustained heart rhythm condition. The prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation in the Middle East stands at 15% and this can lead to ischaemic stroke, which is the leading type of Atrial Fibrillation related stroke. This type of stroke can cause considerable disability and possibly death and presents a major public health impact especially due to increased risk of stroke and hospitalizations. Safe, effective and innovative solutions for stroke prevention in Atrial Fibrillation is the key to managing such life threatening conditions.’’

Mr. Consta Economou, Head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim, META said, ‘Stroke is one of the biggest causes of death and severe disability in the region and many patients simply do not have access to specialty care. We are proud to host the third Stroke Academy in the United Arab Emirates, which provided a platform to bring together the experts from the region, in order to raise awareness on the need for proper and effective prevention and treatment of stroke. Boehringer Ingelheim remains committed to support patients and healthcare professionals by driving the implementation of stroke units within hospitals to reduce the burden of stroke disability and so that lives are not lost as a result of not being able to reach the nearest centre on time.’

The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater is the chance of stroke related brain damage. There are various factors which can lead to a delay in the treatment of a stroke. They include symptoms which are not being recognized or not taken serious, delays in the treatment and the distance to the next hospital and stroke unit.

There is even more of a need to increase awareness on how to recognize symptoms leading to a stroke especially for the patient’s care givers. If a stroke is suspected, individuals need to act fast as rapid diagnosis is vital in order to determine the stroke and receive immediate medical treatment to avoid long-term damage.

**Please note, Thumbay Group, Gulf Medical University, and HEALTH magazine are not liable nor responsible for the facts, figures, and overall content of the press releases on our portal.

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