Timely action can reduce burden of strokes

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS): Timely action in case of a stroke and continuous screening for risk factors can effectively reduce the burden of this disease in India that has turned out to be a major killer, a medical expert here said.

A stroke is a condition in which the brain cells suddenly die because of lack of oxygen. It can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain.

Amit Aslam Khan, an intervention neuro-radiologist dealing with strokes, listed two categories of risk factors for strokes.

While age, gender, family history and genetics were among the non-modifiable factors, hypertension, cholestrol, diabetes and smoking were among the modifiable risk factors, Amit Aslam Khan said delivering a lecture "Time is brain: An introduction to neuro-vascular emergencies" at the India International Centre (IIC) here Wednesday evening.

The doctor said there can be certain warning signals before a stroke which a person and his family members should never ignore. These included difficulty in moving of leg or hand, deviation of face, difficulty in speaking and difficulty in walking.

"Some of these symptoms appear in a person for fleeting seconds before they disappear and there is a tendency to think that nothing has happened. But in many cases a stroke follows," he said.

"Time is very important in case of a stroke. A single stroke makes a person age by 36 years," he added.

He said by 2050, 80 percent of strokes in the world would take place in the developing countries. Nearly 1.5 million people suffer strokes every year and 900,000 die due to them in India.

"The idea is to decrease the burden at the primary and the secondary level," Amit Aslam Khan said adding a simple thing like smoking increases the risk factor for stroke by six times.


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