Strokes are a leading cause of disability in the UAE, second only to road accidents.

According to Amana Healthcare, a specialised stroke rehabilitation centre in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, someone has a stroke every hour in the UAE.

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, consultant of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the centre, 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.”

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

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

How a person is affected depends on how severe the stroke was, with results ranging from temporary weakness to permanent paralysis and losing the ability to speak. A stroke can affect anyone, any time. While some victims recover completely, more than 2/3 will be left with some type of disability.

Dr Khalid adds, “The effects of stroke can be minimised by an effective stroke rehabilitation programme, a goal-oriented, time-limited and patient centred process which aims to help the patient reach and maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and functional status.”

Amana Healthcare runs a specialised and tailored three-stage rehabilitation programme to help stroke victims return to their home and work.

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