80% of strokes are preventable if risk factors are controlled: PGI doctor

With 4-5 new cases of brain stroke occurring every minute in India,brain attack is currently the third leading cause of death and a major cause of disability.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: June 4, 2013 2:16:47 am

With 4-5 new cases of brain stroke occurring every minute in India,brain attack is currently the third leading cause of death and a major cause of disability. Doctors from the Post Graduation Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) spoke about preventing strokes,as 80% of them are preventable.

Stroke or brain attack occurs whenever there is either blockage of blood supply to the brain or there is a rupture of blood vessels causing a haemorrhage in the brain. As a result of haemorrhage in the brain there is damage to cells in the brain and depending upon the site of damage,patients may experience weakness on one side of the body,loss of ability to speak,visual abnormalities,confused behaviour or loss of feeling in different parts of body.

The major risk factors for strokes include diabetes,high blood pressure,high serum cholesterol,smoking,heavy alcohol ingestion,drug abuse,obesity,a sedentary life style,old age,and family history of stroke or a history of stroke,cardiac disease.

Dr Manoj Goyal,Assistant Professor,Department of Neurology,PGIMER said,“It should be noted that 80% of strokes are preventable if we can control these risk factors. Patients should have proper control of blood pressure,blood sugars,serum cholesterol,quit smoking and avoid drinking. Regular physical exercise such as brisk walking and proper dietary habits will do a great deal in decreasing risk of stroke.”

Goyal added that if despite all this,a stroke occurs,patients should not panic and should contact appropriate medical faculty immediately and should take proper treatment.

“With proper treatment,at least 50% of patients will recover and will even be able to return to their jobs. In a nutshell,a stroke is a largely preventable and treatable disease,if taken care of properly,” Goyal said.

“Contrary to popular belief in many regions,ischemic stroke is amenable to treatment,especially if the patient presents himself early to a stroke physician. An injection called recombinant tissue plasminogen activator can be given to dissolve the clot. If given within four and half hours of onset of stroke and up to eight hours,we can try and remove the clot using mechanical devices. After eight hours,treatment is mainly focused on rehabilitation,decreasing further damage to brain and prevention of another attack,” Goyal said.

The main warning signs that a patient may be having a stroke include sudden onset weakness or speech abnormalities,headache,vision problems,and dizziness.

Otherwise relatives may notice deviation of angle of mouth or dragging of either foot or clumsiness while walking.

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