On the eve of World Stroke Day, Dr H. S Mann, Consultant, Neurology, Fortis Hospital Mohali shared information designed to raise the pitch for greater awareness about stroke and importance to keep a strict vigil against this growing epidemic in India. It is a grave situation as Dr Mann confirmed,“Research has indicated that every six seconds, someone dies of a stroke. If you see someone suffering from a stroke, you must think and act promptly.”
Stroke is a brain attack (just like a heart attack) caused by the interruption of the blood supply to any part of brain. When blood flow is denied to brain for longer than a few minutes and brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, brain cells can die, and the abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. Common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, heart disease, excess alcohol intake, smoking, family history of heart disease and previous stroke. The onset of ischemic stroke which restricts blood and oxygen flow to the brain, can damage 1.9 million nerve cells every minute. Head or neck trauma increases the chance of ischemic stroke three-fold among patients younger than 50. If the stroke is detected early, effective treatment could be given in time to prevent long term disabilities.
“If a person has a stroke, then it is easy to detect through changes in Face, Arms, Speech and Time (F.A.S.T) technique. It can help provide timely treatment and prevent any serious brain damage,” said Dr Mann. Uneven Face like drooping of the mouth, one Arm hanging down and slurred Speech are some of the common symptoms of a stroke. A life can be saved if prompt action is taken and the patient is rushed to a hospital with a CT scan facility immediately after the stroke is detected. Dr Mann further added, “Most people panic when they see a person suffering from a stroke. A lack of awareness confuses them about what is happening to the stroke victim. “FAST” is the best way to identify a stroke.”
Underlying the gravity of the situation and why it is important to talk about it more often, Dr Mann address the audience and said,“The fact that stroke related deaths claim more lives than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together, makes it one of the most lethal medical conditions that exist. One in six people in the world will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. One must remember that stroke is treatable. If a person reaches a stroke facility within 4.5 hours; clot bursting therapy can help in recovery of symptoms and reduce disabilities.”