Strokes affect many lives. They’re a leading cause of disability in the UAE, with nearly 50% of strokes occurring in patients younger than 45. It’s estimated someone here has a stroke every hour.

What is it?

A stroke is essentially a ‘brain attack’ that occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is cut off, depriving brain tissue of oxygen. Dr Khalid Anwar, a consultant of physical medicine and rehabilitation here at Amana Healthcare, says, “Strokes can be caused by a blocked artery, bursting of a blood vessel, temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain or underlying risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and obesity.”

What are the symptoms?

To recognise when someone is having a stroke, just think FAST – face, arms, speech and time. A stroke victim’s face will fall on one side; they may not be able to smile. They won’t be able to raise and hold both arms, and their speech might be slurred or strange. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to call 999.

Stroke victims are often confused, have trouble walking, talking and seeing, and experience vomiting, dizziness and a sudden severe headache.

A stroke can affect anyone, any time. While some victims recover completely, more than two thirds will be left with some type of disability. The long-term effects depend on the severity of the stroke, with results ranging from temporary weakness to permanent paralysis and losing the ability to speak.

How are strokes treated?

Amana Healthcare is the Middle East’s leading specialist in post-acute rehabilitation, with an unparalleled track record of helping victims of stroke get life back on track. Dr Khalid points out, “The effects of stroke can be minimized by an effective stroke rehabilitation programme: a highly specialized, goal-oriented, time-limited process that helps the patient reach and maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and functional status.”

At Amana our post-acute rehabilitation programs encompass physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, dietetic and respiratory therapies, making it possible for our patients to resume work and home life as soon as they can.

What can I do?

Get active. Lose weight. Stop smoking. And control your blood pressure and diabetes.

People with high blood pressure are two to four times more likely to suffer a stroke. High blood pressure can be caused by obesity, which affects around one third of the UAE population, making elevated blood pressure common. Smoking increases that risk even more.

Lifestyle changes – such as a healthier diet, quitting smoking and regular exercise – can help reduce the danger of a stroke. It’s important that people get the information and help they need making necessary lifestyle changes to reduce stroke risk and create a better health outlook.

Find out more about Amana’s post-acute inpatient rehabilitation program, where we help people after stroke (and other related conditions) turn things around.