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Minding the stroke gap

Updated on: 29 October,2023 08:44 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Eshan Kalyanikar |

Lack of awareness and timely medical attention are the biggest factors contributing towards incidences of stroke

Minding the stroke gap

Dr Shirish Hastak

One in four people will experience a stroke in their lifetime,” notes neurologist Dr Shirish Hastak of Global Hospital ahead, of World Stroke Day, which is observed on Sunday. The day aims to raise awareness about what a stroke is and what to do when you or your loved ones display symptoms.

Dr Hastak, who also leads the Mumbai Stroke Society, says that there is limited city-based data on how many people, on an average, suffer a stroke every day. “However,” he adds, “there is enough data to suggest that every 20 seconds, one Indian suffers a stroke, which totals about 4,320 people a day.” There are three common types of strokes: ischemic, haemorrhagic, and transient ischemic attack. The most common one is ischemic stroke. “Failing to recognise the initial symptoms can lead to potentially fatal complications,” he adds.

In 2010, the American Stroke Association coined an acronym ‘BE-FAST’ as a tool for the masses to quickly respond to stroke symptoms.  The acronym stands for Balance (loss of physical balance), Eyes (trouble with vision in one or both eyes), Face (weakness or falling on one side of the face), Arm (weakness or numbness in one arm including legs), Speech (slurred speech), Time (rushing to the hospital).

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He adds, “We see about three to four stroke patients in a week, and almost all of them don’t use ambulance services because they have very little awareness of the numbers to dial or do not trust ambulances,” he says. Furthermore, he notes that both private and government hospitals need to build infrastructure and capacity for an immediate response to stroke victims. “Mumbai Stroke Society is in talks with the state government to help build this capacity. The conversation began very recently. ” he adds.

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