Kumasi Musician suffers Stroke after collapsing Onstage - GhKings

Kumasi Musician suffers Stroke after collapsing Onstage

A journal by Tim McDonnel for The National Public Radio reports on cardiovascular disease which has increased high number of hemorrhagic stroke cases in Africa, including a Ghanaian musician Fredua Agyemang based in Kumasi.

Kumasi Musician suffers Stroke after collapsing on Stage | Ghana Music - GhKings.Com
A computer-enhanced scan of a brain shows a hemorrhage due to hypertension. [img src:sciencesource.com]

– Africa is suffering a silent crisis of stroke.

NPR reports — Last April, Fredua Agyemang, a musician in Kumasi, Ghana, was performing onstage at a funeral, which in this country is often a festive affair with hundreds of guests. Suddenly, he began to feel dizzy, then lost consciousness and collapsed.

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When he woke up three days later, his bandmates broke the news: He had suffered a stroke. Immediately, he thought of another doctor visit eight years earlier, when, at the age of 34, he had been diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed medication to reduce his blood pressure. The medication had given him problems with erectile dysfunction, a common side effect, and he soon stopped taking it regularly. That decision seemed foolish, he recalls. He was having difficulty moving and speaking and knew that he wouldn’t be back onstage anytime soon.

“I still have weakness,” he says, nine months later. “I’m not able to walk well, I can’t use my left arm, I can’t sing.”

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Doctors found that Agyemang’s stroke was hemorrhagic, meaning that a blood vessel in his brain burst from excessive pressure. In the U.S., this type of stroke is rare; nearly 90 percent of strokes in the U.S. are “ischemic,” meaning they’re caused by a clot or other blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. But according to a new study, the largest-ever of stroke patients in Africa, up to one-third of strokes in this area of the world are hemorrhagic. And while the survival rate for ischemic strokes is around 80 percent, for hemorrhagic strokes the odds of survival are only 50/50. Agyemang is lucky to be alive.

The study surveyed 2,000 stroke patients in Ghana and Nigeria (including Agyemang) to better understand what factors are most likely to put people at risk. The results were released Friday at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles and will be published next month in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet.

Researchers already knew that the overall rate of stroke in Africa is among the world’s highest, with around 316 new cases each year per 100,000 people. (The U.S. rate, by comparison, is around 246 new cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.) But the study sheds new light on the prevalence of hemorrhagic stroke.

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“We are seeing way more hemorrhagic stroke [in Africa] than in the West, and we need to understand what’s driving this,” says Dr. Fred Stephen Sarfo, a neurologist at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, who led the Ghana side of the study. “It’s a huge and neglected burden.”

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