Mohali, October 28, 2022: Stroke is the second leading cause of mortality and claims about 60 lakh lives every year globally, according to a report by the World Health Organization. While it is considered to be a disease affecting the elderly, 10-15% of stroke cases occurring in India affect people under 40 years of age. As per a Lancet Study, nearly 7 lakh stroke-related deaths occurred in India in 2019 – accounting for 7.4% of the total deaths in the country that year. One in six people suffer a stroke in their lifetime.
To raise awareness about the serious nature and high rate of rising incidences of stroke, World Stroke Day is observed on October 29 every year. The theme of this year’s event is the ‘Power of saving #PreciousTime’.
Dr HS Mann, Additional Director, Department of Neurology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, gives us an insight into the causes, symptoms, precautions and treatment options for brain stroke.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood circulation to a part of the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. This may lead to death of brain cells owing to decreased blood flow and lack of oxygen. Dr Mann said stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical intervention.
The major causes that can trigger a stroke include poorly controlled hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol level, obesity, smoking, excess alcohol, besides chances of getting a stroke increase as we age.
Dr Mann said, “The symptoms of stroke include loss of balance, visual complaints, sudden weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body), and sudden speech difficulty.”
On the importance of Golden Hour, Dr Mann said, “Time is of crucial importance as loss of oxygen to the brain cells for one minute results in irreparable loss of 1.8 million neurons. Immediate treatment at a stroke centre with intravenous thrombolysis (within 4-5 hours) with or without mechanical thrombectomy is required.”
Stating that a stroke can be prevented by introducing a few lifestyle changes, Dr Mann, said, “It is important to regulate one’s blood pressure as any elevation in BP can increase the chance of getting a stroke. Ensure to keep a check on your diabetes, limit your sugar consumption, besides cessation of smoking and reducing alcohol intake. Physical activity is essential as it regulates blood flow in the body and keep your weight under control. Regular check-ups should be done as it can help detect heart-related problems.”