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Significant increase in number of stroke cases reported in KZN

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An emergency medical company in KwaZulu-Natal says they have seen a significant increase in the number of stroke cases in the past two years following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operational manager in KwaZulu-Natal Nicole Lester says it is difficult to say if the increase is linked to COVID, or due to effective public awareness programmes.

Strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide. Netcare 911 in KwaZulu-Natal has become the first emergency medical service in South Africa to receive a gold award in the international Angels Awards – meaning it meets certain standards in the treatment of strokes

Lester elaborates on possible causes for the increase they are seeing:

“Obviously there can be numerous factors: change in lifestyle could be a large factor to it if people are now living a more sedentary lifestyle and they are not active. Change in dietary habits as well, whether that is due to Covid or recession, there is always other risk factors that we do face too. The possibility of lack of face to face contact and less regular doctor’s visits. And less medical check-ups can obviously impact significantly.”

President of the Neurological Association of South Africa, Dr Patty Francis, explains why strokes are dubbed the silent killer:

“Hypertension is the leading cause of stroke worldwide. It’s always dubbed a silent killer because it’s asymptomatic unless it reaches levels above 160 where patients may develop some type of headache or some type of dizziness. And above 180-ish they start to develop a very severe headache. So patients with headaches may consider: should I check my blood pressure. But regular people don’t check.”

Source: SABC News

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