Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 120-125

Prestroke treatment of stroke risk factors: A cross-sectional survey in central Nigeria

1 Department of Medicine, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, Nigeria
2 Department of Medicine, National Hospital Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria
3 Department of Medicine, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Nura H Alkali
Department of Medicine, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, PMB 0117, Bauchi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.188891

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Background: Stroke can be prevented with treatments targeted at hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and atrial fibrillation, but this is often hampered by under-diagnosis and under-treatment of those risk factors. The magnitude of this problem is not well-studied in sub-Saharan Africa. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of stroke patients at a tertiary hospital during January 2010 to July 2013 to determine patient awareness of a pre-existing stroke risk factor and prior use of anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, antiplatelet and lipid-lowering agents. We also investigated whether gender and school education influenced patient awareness and treatment of a stroke risk factor prior to stroke. Results: Three hundred and sixty nine stroke patients presented during the study period, of which 344 eligible subjects were studied. Mean age at presentation (±SD) was 55.8 ± 13.7 years, and was not different for men and women. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and atrial fibrillation were prevalent among 83.7%, 26.5%, 25.6% and 9.6% patients respectively. Awareness was high for pre-existing diabetes (81.8%) and hypertension (76.7%), but not for hyperlipidemia (26.4%) and atrial fibrillation (15.2%). Men were better educated than women (p = 0.002), and had better awareness for hyperlipidemia (37.3% versus 13.5%; p = 0.009). Men were also more likely to take drug treatments for a stroke risk factor, but the differences were significant. Conclusions: A high rate of under-diagnosis and under-treatment of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and atrial fibrillation contributes to the stroke burden in sub-Saharan Africa, especially among women. Public health measures including mass media campaigns could help reduce the burden of stroke.

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