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World Stroke Day 2016: Face the Facts - Stroke is Treatable

Health Watch   - G J E 4
Highlights
  • The World Stroke Day 2016 is celebrated on October 29th and this year's theme is 'Face the Facts- Stroke is treatable'
  • The risk factors for stroke include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking tobacco.
  • The early warning signs of stroke include sudden loss of facial movement, loss of vision and inability to raise both the hands.
The World Stroke Day 2016 is celebrated on October 29th to provide greater focus on stroke and the availability of treatment options. A stroke occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked leading to the blockage of oxygen to the brain and ultimately to the death of the brain cells. The incidence of stroke is found to be much higher in India than in Western societies due to lack of awareness about risk factors that could lead to a stroke.
World Stroke Day 2016: Face the Facts - Stroke is Treatable
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Risk Factors for Stroke

The top risk factors for stroke are:
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Heart diseases
  • Blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Dyslipidemia (high levels of lipids)
  • Genetic risk factors/hereditary factors
The theme for this year's World Stroke Day is "Face the Facts: Stroke is treatable". It is a drive to educate people about controlling risk factors that could lead to a stroke as well as spreading awareness that it is treatable.

‘Detecting early signs of stroke is essential for better care.’
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Facts about Stroke

  • Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S as well as the leading cause of disability.
  • In India, the estimated prevalence of stroke is 334-424/100,000 in urban areas and 84-262/100,000 in rural.
  • The highest case fatality is in Kolkatta at 42%
  • There are three types of strokes
    • Ischemic stroke where a blood clot prevents blood from reaching the brain.
    • Hemorrhagic stroke where a blood vessel breaks and the blood spills into the brain.
    • Transient ischemic attacks are when there is a temporary disruption in blood being carried to the brain.
The lack of awareness about treatment options for stroke results in increased fatality rate and poor chance of improvement in the condition of a patient affected by stroke. The theme which calls for an increased awareness about the existence of treatment options for stroke is a deliberate attempt to focus attention on identifying early symptoms that signal the need to take the patient to the emergency immediately.

Early Signs of Stroke

A patient who suffers a stroke displays early warning signs that can be used to detect the condition early and, most importantly, to take the patient to the hospital, where emergency care could prevent further progression of the condition.
  • Facial paralysis - There may be sudden numbness on one or both the sides of the face
  • Eyes - There could be loss of vision in one or both the eyes.
  • Speech - Slurred speech.
  • Hands - When both the hands are asked to be raised, the person may be unable to raise one or both the hands.

Treatment Available Following a Stroke

There are treatment options that are available for stroke survivors that include:
  • Drug to dissolve the clot: The patient may be administered with drugs that are used to remove the clot and allow the flow of blood. The drugs should be given within 4 and a half hours of being affected by a stroke.
  • Mechanical thrombectomy: The clot is physically removed by the doctors to allow blood flow.
  • Rehabilitative therapy: Rehabilitation is key to surviving a stroke. It is important to remember that rehabilitation begins in the hospital but it should be continued even at home. The patient should be encouraged to be as independent as possible to keep the brain functioning well and to encourage movement. There are many cases where stroke survivors regain control over their actions.
  • Psychological counseling: The increased dependency of a stroke victim could diminish the spirit of a stroke victim and psychological counseling will come to their aid. There are many equipments that are available to ensure that the patient can use to be relatively independent, depending upon the extent of the stroke.
It is important to learn the signs of stroke which will aid in identifying a person undergoing a stroke and to take the patient to emergency care. There is a 1 in 10 chance of an individual having another stroke, therefore modification in the lifestyle is an essential factor.

A stroke survivor should
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay active
  • Eat well
  • Stay away from alcohol
  • Stay close to family and friends
In India, there are significant factors that prevent access to expert medical care following a stroke and they include lack of awareness about the early signs of a stroke, absence of care in rural areas, inability to afford medical treatment and delay in reaching medical facilities.

This World Stroke Day is a great time to identify reasons that result in non-availability of medical care at the critical time and to device corrective measures which will facilitate better care.

References:
  1. Face the Facts - Stroke is Treatable - (http://www.worldstrokecampaign.org/learn/face-the-facts-stroke-is-treatable.html)
  2. World Stroke Day - (http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/General/World-Stroke-Day_UCM_444999_SubHomePage.jsp)
  3. What is Stroke? - (http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke)
  4. Stroke - General Information - (https:medlineplus.gov/stroke.html)
  5. Stroke Epidemiology and Stroke Care Services in India - (https:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3859004/)
  6. Fifty Years of Stroke Researchers in India - (https:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4782523/)
Source: Medindia
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