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Stroke Burden High

There are no separate stroke wards in Iranian hospitals, and establishment of special units that provide full prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services for stroke patients can effectively help reduce the disease burden
The monthly cost of caring for people at home after severe stroke is about $2500-$5000.  The monthly cost of caring for people at home after severe stroke is about $2500-$5000.

An estimated 300,000 Iranians experience a new or recurrent stroke and 95,000  under the age of 55 die as a result every year. Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the country (9.4%) after cancer (8%). Ischemic heart disease (29.1%) tops the mortality list.

Stroke is also the leading cause of serious disability among adults. 

“After a stroke a clot-busting drug, tPA (50 ml), must be given intravenously within 3-4 hours to be effective. Each vial of the drug costs $450 (18 million rials). For people heavier than 70kg, two vials of drug may be needed (costs $900),” said Dr Babak Zamani, head of the Iranian Stroke Association, Salamat News website reported.

With an aim to reduce stroke disability, the drug which is imported was covered by health insurance organizations for the first time in 2015, as many people couldn’t afford the prohibitive costs. Now people within the first hours after the onset of stroke symptoms have access to the drug at affordable costs, he said. “The drug can effectively reduce the rates of mortality and disability by 50-60%.”

“However, awareness among Iranians of early stroke symptoms, is lacking,” Zamani said.  Stroke warning signs include sudden numbness and weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion (trouble speaking or understanding); trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and sudden severe headaches with no known cause.

The monthly cost of caring for people at home after severe stroke is about $2500-$5000.  Some of the patients with severe disability may even need a small ICU at home. If family members take responsibility to provide nursing care to stroke patients (instead of hiring a nurse) the cost of care will be further reduced. 

  Special Stroke Units

Currently, many hospitals globally have stroke units which are special wards in hospital that provide full prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services for stroke patients. “Unfortunately, we don’t have separate stroke wards in our hospitals, while establishment of stroke units can effectively reduce the disease burden on both government and society.” 

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when a blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of brain such as memory and muscle control are lost. 

How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example, someone who had a small stroke may only have minor problems such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may permanently be paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than two-third of survivors will have some type of disability.

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