Heart-wrenching story of how a family lost their breadwinner to stroke

File Photo Of Stroke File photo: Family looses breadwinner to stroke

Fri, 12 May 2023 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Reported stroke cases have been on the rise recently. Experts have expressed worry about the growing trend and attributed it to the unhealthy lifestyle of the public.

They say people aged 55 and above were known to have a higher risk, but the statistics have changed. Approximately 30 percent of all stroke cases occur among people under the age of 50.

High-risk factors include hypertension, diabetes, high alcohol intake, and a lack of exercise.

The Ghanaian Times report headlined “Till stroke did us part; the heart-wrenching impact of stroke on families” on Friday, May 12, 2023, recounted the story of how a family lost their breadwinner to stroke.

The Ghanaian Times Report:

We met him on the kitchen floor with his face drooping and his right side paralysed. He could hardly utter a word. At that moment, I knew my world had come to an end."

These were the words of Afia Ampomaa, a widow as she chronicled the ordeal of her late husband who suffered stroke 19 years ago.

On that fateful August night in 2003, she recalls how she had to quickly call her neighbours and church elders to assist in taking her husband to the hospital because their children were very young and naïve.

After series of tests, he was diagnosed with stroke.

From that point, her strong father figure and husband was reduced to a dependent burden who had to be catered for like a child and kept under close watch.

According to her, he could barely walk or speak coherently; he had an unsteady gait and had lost power in his right arm. Virtually his right part was ‘paralysed’.

Apparently, she said it had been accumulated uncontrolled blood pressure and stress that he never checked or knew of until the unforeseen circumstance when the disease struck suddenly.

Life became unbearable from there as her hero had been reduced to nothing. The civil engineer who worked so hard and looked out for his children could now neither go to work nor be with his kids as he always pleased.

Her strong-hearted husband could no longer speak or act the way he used to. He could not control his emotions or bowels.

Ms Ampomaa said they began moving from one hospital to the other for consultations, treatments and physiotherapy.

For the faith factor, she had to move out of the house with her husband to a prayer camp for deliverance while they still visited the hospital.

Unfortunately, it was already late or maybe fate had already decided her husband's life, as all efforts seemed futile. Just when signs of recovery began show-ing, he kicked the bucket on the evening of August 4, 2004.

Causes of Stroke:

Dietician, RD Andrew Kpabi at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has said the prevalence of stroke cases among youth is a result of poorly managed lifestyles.

According to him, the disease has become common in persons under forty and most are people with a higher chance of having unmanaged hypertension or diabetes.

In a phone interview with GhanaWeb, Doctor Kpabi listed stress, alcohol, excessive salt intake, skipping meals etc, as lifestyles that contribute to the growing rate of stroke in the youth in Ghana.


Due to stress, he added that, people tend to go without feeding the body with food to keep it running.

“One thing I will add too in a way is the stress level. People are so stressed that they don’t take time to take care of their bodies. Some people say, I am busy so they will not eat, when I am ready that is when I will eat. When you do that to your body, you stress your body. It is easy for your body to handle stress when it has been well fed just like a worker can work when he’s paid. It’s the same way the body, for it to work well it needs food,” he said.


Doctor Andy mentioned alcohol as one of the biggest causes of stroke and especially in the youth who have glorified it and sometimes use it as sexual enhancers.

“One of the things like alcohol intake. You know in Ghana; we glorify alcohol so much. Like it does so many wonders, but which are not backed by science. They will say, alcohol for manpower, alcohol for this and that but there is no scientific evidence that prove those claims, they are just marketing strategies.

Excessive salt intake:

The growing preference for take out foods and excessive use of seasoning cubes, etc, according to the dietician, also contributes as a risk factor to getting stroke.

“Also, salt intake, it’s been shown to be one of the things that can make your blood pressure go up. Some people when they prepare their food, they will want to add extra salt because it’s not tasting well enough. That’s a bad habit. Others will add seasoning cubes which are not bad. But they contain a lot of salt, so when you happen to add too much to your food, then you begin to get so much salt in your system. Also eating out. When you eat out, you don’t know what they put into the food, you just want to enjoy the food. Most of the time they put a lot of salt in the food. If you try to make it your habit, you are at risk of having hypertension which if not controlled, can lead to a stroke.

Junk food:

In addition, Dr Andy cautioned that excessive junk food intake increases the chances of getting high blood cholesterol which is a contributing factor of stroke.

“Eating a lot of fatty food. No one says oil is bad, it is good but when it becomes too much, it becomes a problem. Food, depending on how is, can be healthy or not. But adding too many fried foods to your meal can increase your chance, thereby increasing your blood cholesterol which can predispose you to stroke, he added”.

Dr Andy Kpabi also noted that the listed lifestyles among the youth give way to hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol which later results in stroke. However, early detection and management can reduce the rising cases of stroke.

“As I said, stroke is no more a condition for grownups. So, you can't wait till you are 50 years before you start looking at all these things. The primary thing is that you must go for regular check-ups. At least know your blood pressure. At least a month, or two months, you must check your blood pressure and your blood sugar. You go and do some lab work to see whether everything is normal. If you have a family history, so it means there is somebody in your family who has it. You need to be doing some of these tests more, so you don’t fall victim to some of these things. These are risk factors that can be passed on because the thing that triggered their condition is likely to be the same things that will trigger your condition. So, you need to be doing tests to be aware of some of these things” he added.

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