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Friday, March 05, 2021

World Brain Day 2020: Why you need to pay attention to brain health

Our food habits and lifestyle have a major impact on our brain health. It is also important to know about the initial symptoms of neurological problems so that early treatment can be initiated, say experts

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
July 22, 2020 9:10:27 am
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Brain surgery, brain tumour, stroke (paralysis) and ‘sudden amnesia’ have often been shown on the big screen and also TV serials, yet the knowledge about the same remains limited; rather the very subject of brain health is ignored mostly, shared Dr Amit Srivastav, senior consultant, neurology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital.

According to a study, the burden of stroke disease has increased nearly 100 per cent in our country. And in the time of covid 19 pandemic, patients who are already suffering from neurological diseases are facing a tough time. Their treatment process has been deeply affected due to lack of access to their doctors and availability of medications. The stress and depression generated from the lockdowns and the fear psychosis around covid has also increased the number of such patients.

A major awareness for brain health is the need of the hour. Our food habits and lifestyle have a major impact on our brain health. At the same time, it is also important to know about the initial symptoms of neurological problems so that early treatment can be initiated. Here’s what you need to know.

Brain health with brain food

There is a famous proverb “you are what you eat”. And it is more so in the case of brain health. Some people assume that increasing the intake of dry fruits is the only thing required, but it is not enough. You need to increase the consumption of antioxidants-rich foods like grapes, blue berries, sweet potatoes, green vegetables, fish etc, that help in the development of the brain. The fact is, 60 per cent of brain is made of fat, hence add healthy fats in your daily meals, and omega 3 fatty acids also play a key role in developing brain cells.

Be regular with exercise

Brain health is not different from physical health in any sense. Regular exercise helps in maintaining blood pressure and good circulation which is necessary for proper functioning of the brain. Yoga and meditation also boost functioning of brain.

World brain day 2020, brain day, brain health, brain foods,, indianexpress, Make sure you are getting enough physical exercise. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Physical health and brain

Although every disease or physical ailment affects our brain health, suffering from hypertension or diabetes can majorly affect our brain health, mentioned Dr Srivastav.

“Since blood pressure plays a key role in these two diseases, our blood travels through our blood vessels to the brain, and lower or high BP can result in stroke, brain haemorrhage etc. Take proper medication and keep checking your BP,” he said.

ALSO READ | An Expert Explains: New insights on Covid-19, key learnings from managing it

There are some neurological diseases people need to know more about

Parkinson’s disease

It is type of a degenerative disorder. It’s symptoms appear gradually and progress over the years.
• Tremors or/and stiffness
• Slurring, or speech changes
• Stooped posture, small steps and imbalance
Parkinson’s patient needs continuous treatment and medication without fail or else it may result to rapid worsening. Never ignore such initial symptoms, immediately see a doctor and start treatment in order to slower the progression.

Alzheimer’s disease

Repeatedly forgetting recent events in daily life is an initial symptom. It is one of a type of dementia which starts insidiously and progress slowly. Early detection can retard the pace of the disease.

Brain tumour

It is basically an abnormal growth of brain cells which starts creating pressure on brain with the growth of its number and size, and manifests itself in the form of headache with repeated episodes of vomiting; neurological deficits and seizures.
Like any other cancer, early identification of brain tumours is one of the key factors that determine the prognosis.

Covid and Neurological problems

Covid pandemic should also be seen in the light of brain health as well. Dr Sahil Kohli, consultant, neurology, Narayana Hospital, Gurugram mentioned neurological symptoms of covid that one should be careful about.

Loss of taste and smell

The term used for losing sense of taste is dysguseia and loss of taste is called anosmia. Now, the irony is that both can be initial symptoms of Covid as well.


Headache can be an initial symptom and covid infection may aggravate headaches due to anxiety/fear.


It is seen that blood of Covid patients gets thicker which increases the risk of brain stroke. In Western countries, young patients are seen getting stroke. A patient has to be treated within 4.5 hours. Patients already suffering from stroke, BP problems, and diabetes should be in touch with doctors and keep taking regular medicines as prescribed.

*Medicines of chronic patients of neurology often affect immunity; hence they should avoid hospital visits unless it is necessary. They should be in touch with doctor through phone, video calls etc.

*Cases of anxiety/depression/ adjustment disorders are also at rapid increase hence don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you not feeling well.

ALSO READ | Fruits, vegetables, eggs linked to risk of different stroke types: Study

Way forward

Dr Rajul Aggrawal, senior consultant, neurologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi said how brain treatment has seen major advancements.

Limited knowledge has led people to consider brain related treatment to be complicated. Especially talking about Parkinson’s disease, prolonged treatment and regular medication makes some lose hope. At the same time prevalence of misconceptions are also some of the issues to be taken seriously. Thankfully better research models are being developed, progressive studies are taking place and even a study confirms that next 20 years are going to be “hopeful” for Parkinson’s. In every neurological issue, early detection is the key. Now deep brain stimulation therapy is also routinely done.

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