Thirty-eight-year-old Thane resident Samir Shah (name changed) lost his ability to speak and his limbs were paralysed after he suffered a brain stroke. This happened because he failed to seek treatment within the first two hours of the attack.
According to World Stroke Association statistics, one in six persons are liable to suffer from a brain stroke in their life time.
In spite of stroke being the third-largest killer in India, the latest survey by Indian Stroke Association (ISA) reveals that most persons in six cities Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata were ignorant about what causes stroke and how to avoid the consequences that can lead to disability in a person.
Stroke is a rapid loss of brain function due to loss of blood supply. A blood clot in artery or blockage causes it. Of the 1,507 respondents surveyed between 25 and 45 years in six cities, half of them were not aware of what a stroke is and did not associate the term with ‘brain’. Persons surveyed in Mumbai had the lowest awareness: 73% of them did not know that a stroke patient suffers from confusion and trouble in speaking. Also, 91% of them did not know that a stroke can go undiagnosed as symptoms are not painful. “A stroke hits the patients like a bolt out of the blue.
First, a stroke may not be so bad and there could be mild slurring of speech or weakness in the hands and legs. This tends to get better within fifteen minutes, after which the patient may shove the problem under the carpet and get on with life,” said Dr Shirish Hastak, neurologist, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.
The 20% patients that suffer from mild symptoms go on to develop a full-fledged stroke in the next 48 hours. Also, as many as 60% patients miss initial symptoms like numbness or slurring of speech. If they are not treated within a window period of two to four hours, they go on to develop disabilities like paralysis and loss of speech.
“I see close to ten stroke patients in a week. While 40% patients recover, another 40% develop disabilities and rest 20% die. Most stroke-affected persons are above 60 years. The ailment is catching up among youngsters with high-stress lifestyle and shooting blood pressure,” said Dr AB Shah, neurologist, Breach Candy Hospital.
What is stroke?
Stroke is a rapid loss of brain function due to loss of blood supply. Blood clot in artery or blockage causes it. Strokes can happen due to build-up of plaque (cholesterol) in arteries or rupture in blood vessels due to uncontrolled blood pressure.