World Stroke Day: What causes a stroke and measures to prevent it

Updated: Oct 29, 2019, 13:58 IST | Saumya Gourisaria | Mumbai

They say early one in six people worldwide are likely to suffer a stroke. According to the India: Health of the Nations States, India witnesses approximately 1.7 million strokes annually.

This image has been used for representational purposes only
This image has been used for representational purposes only

Every year, October 29 is observed as World Stroke Day and India, as a country, is reeling under the burden of non-communicable diseases, say experts.

They say early one in six people worldwide are likely to suffer a stroke. According to the India: Health of the Nations States, India witnesses approximately 1.7 million strokes annually.

"Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and is the second most common cause of death worldwide," said Dr Praduymna Oak, director and head (dept of neurology), Nanavati Super Speciality hospital.

Dr Nazir Juvale, a cardiologist, said in simple terms, a stroke can be referred to as 'paralysis', as the weakness of arms, legs, lack of blood supply, difficulty in speaking and face distortion are common symptoms. "The underlying causes of stroke are diabetes, high blood pressure and athros-chrolosis," Juvale said.

Meanwhile, Oak said that today, the possibility of stroke in youngsters has invariably increased over the past few years. This is primarily owing to the sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and work-related stress our youth experience. "According to a clinical radiology study on Stroke in Young patients, the stroke prevalence ranges between 15-30% in young patients below the age of 40. These numbers are alarming as they are the future of the country. India needs more awareness to sensitise our youth on a healthy lifestyle as a preventive measure for stroke."

Speaking on lack of awareness, Oak said while people are aware about the condition, there is less awareness about the risk factors that cause it and the importance of reaching a stroke-ready centre on time. "Individuals need to be aware of risk factors like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, smoking, alcohol abuse etc. These are the major causes. If a person is experiencing symptoms like slurring in speech, face drooping, loss of movement on one side, affected vision, excruciating headache etc. they need to rush to a stroke-ready centre immediately," Oak said.

He also stressed on the need for several lifestyle changes to avoid the recurrence of a stroke. "An individual needs to keep a check of their diet, cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure levels. They should quit smoking and alcohol and follow a fitness routine as recommended by the doctor."

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