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Don’t Stroke Out
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

To address the rapidly increasing incidence compounded with the lack of awareness among the common populace in identifying the symptoms, the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals came forward with an educative talk on this disorder on the occasion of World Stroke Day

The conference—‘Stroke Recognition, Management and Prevention’, recently held in New Delhi, saw over 300 attendees of which 200 stroke survivors and their caregivers marked their presence. The prominent political figure of India, Lal Krishna Advani, graced the conference as chief guest. He commented that awareness of the growing incidences of strokes needs to be brought about in the villages of the country and has to be supplemented with proper healthcare facilities and services in the remotest areas.

The public awareness talk aimed to bring to light the role of a caregiver who plays an instrumental role in facilitating the rehabilitation of a stroke survivor and getting their life back on track. According to estimates, in every two seconds, a person is affected by a stroke somewhere in the world and in every six seconds, one stroke-related death occurs worldwide. As estimated, one in six persons in the world will suffer a stroke in their lifetime which eventually means that as many as 17 million strokes would occur annually across the world, of which five million people will not survive. If figures are to be believed, then 1.4 million strokes occur annually in India alone.

The conference identified that in countries with higher income, the incidence of strokes has been on a decline due to widely available preventive care. However, in a developing country like India, stroke incidence is increasing because of poor preventive strategies. Though treatment for this disorder is available, it is limited to metro cities and super-specialty hospitals.

According to the senior consultant of Neurology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Dr Vinit Suri, who is also the president of the Indian Stroke Association, people are unaware of the symptoms of a stroke and the know-how of emergency treatment which can make a difference. “Taking the patient to the hospital within the ‘golden hour’ period—within four and a half hours—is extremely important as they can receive thrombolytics or ‘clot buster’ drugs on time, which opens the blocked vessel and helps them recover faster,” he said. He further identified that most of the cases received by the Apollo Hospitals are within two hours of the occurrence of the stroke since many time the patients do not realise that they have had a stroke. Those who are admitted after the golden hour are recommended rehabilitatory measures, a close monitoring of blood pressure, sugar levels and are set up on a healthy diet regime.

Identifying the symptoms for the benefit of all, Suri said that weakness, numbness or paralysis in face, arms or legs, slurred speech or difficulty in understanding others, dizziness and sudden severe headaches, are some of the common symptoms. The nine preventive strategies that the hospital recommends are—control of blood pressure, control of diabetes, controlled cholesterol levels, regular exercise, no smoking and tobacco consumption, reduction of body weight, a healthy diet, avoid alcohol or drinking in moderation and also controlling cardiac disease, especially atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of a stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. The mnemonic, ‘BEFAST’ can help people remember the symptoms.

Don’t Stroke Out