Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], November 3 (ANI/Mediawire): As we know, a stroke can be sudden. It occurs when blood flow is impeded from reaching the brain.
This disruption of blood flow is typically caused by either a blockage or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain - both instances prevent oxygen from feeding the brain tissue and may cause disability or mortality.
It can happen to anyone at any age and impacts survivors, family and friends, workplaces, and communities.
To increase awareness and drive action on stroke around the world, globally World Stroke Day is observed every year on October 29. This year, Times Network and St. Jude Medical India Pvt. Ltd. (now Abbott) have come together with medical experts across the country to spread awareness and deliberate on the leading causes of stroke, symptoms to watch out for, preventive measures and medical technology, to help treat the condition.
The distinguished medical experts that came together for a deeper discussion on the subject included:
Dr Balbir Singh, Chairman - Cardiac Sciences Pan Max, Max Super Speciality Hospital,
Dr Ranjan Shetty, HOD and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru
Dr Prakash Kumar Hazra, Director of Cardiac Cath Lab, AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria Kolkata
Dr SuhasHardas, Senior Consultant & Interventional Cardiologist, Director, Hardas Heart Care, Pune
India is reporting upwards of 18 lakhs stroke cases annually and this number is overwhelming. Dr Balbir Singh shared that brain stroke is a serious condition and the numbers are rising. A stroke could be a thrombotic stroke, where a clot forms in one of the brain's arteries and blocks blood flow to a part of the brain. Another type is the thromboembolic stroke where the blood clot is formed elsewhere, usually in the heart and then travels in the blood stream and clogs a blood vessel leading to the brain. Yet another kind of stroke is caused by a brain haemorrhage when there is bleeding in the brain resulting in this condition. And then there are also strokes where there is no apparent cause, and these are known as cryptogenic strokes. It could be a small clot that travels from the heart to the brain, but one is unable to detect how this happened.
Dr Ranjan Shetty mentioned that individuals with hypertension and diabetes are more susceptible to heart strokes. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to stroke even at a younger age while strokes caused by clots usually affect older individuals.
Dr P K Hazra and Dr SuhasHardas shared that over the years, poor lifestyle choices have also been contributing factors for stroke. Smoking, no exercise, obesity, uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, sleep apnoea (snoring at night), use of smokeless tobacco and even COVID-19 have led to increasing incidences of stroke. It is imperative for people to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the stroke burden overall.
Continuing the conversation on the pandemic, Dr Singh commented that during COVID-19, it has been seen that some people developed abnormal blood clotting, formation of clots in the lungs, in the heart and the brain, leading to pulmonary embolisms. In this situation, blood thinning agents were beneficial in preventing strokes.
Dr Hazra further explained that in a non-haemorrhagic stroke, you have ischemia (restricted or reduced blood flow) and embolism (obstruction of an artery, usually by a clot or air bubble). Circulatory conditions are the main risk factor for ischemic stroke, as it increase your risk for clots or fatty deposits especially with patients who have comorbidities or people with a family history of stroke or who've had past strokes.
While the panel discussed more on types of strokes and causes, Dr Hardas emphasised on the need for early diagnosis of the condition. He said that - time is very crucial for a stroke patient. As soon as one begins to experience preliminary symptoms like, tingling, numbness, loss of power, speech abnormalities, difficulty in swallowing or any kind of visual symptom, one must immediately go to the nearest cardiac centre, preferably a tertiary cardiac center. Dr Shetty emphasized the need for appropriate tests, such as a CT scan or MRI to be conducted, preferably within 30 minutes of the onset of symptoms. If stroke is diagnosed early, there are effective measures to treat a patient as conveyed by both Dr Singh and Dr Hardas. If damage is ongoing, and a person continues to suffer from ischemia, the loss of brain cells or neurons can lead to a permanent disability and the recovery may be difficult or impossible.
The discussion then moved to treatment options beyond medications, and methods of early intervention that are proving to be effective when it comes to recovering from a stroke. Dr Shetty said that people with one stroke are prone to subsequent strokes. There is a need to prevent this occurrence.
About 40% of strokes possibly originate from the heart. The blood clot could start from either the left side in cases of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) or the right side when there is a hole (small flaplike opening between the right and left upper chambers) of the heart (atria), also known as Patent Foramen Ovalle (PFO). The clot movement due to atrial fibrillation can be treated with either blood thinners or LAA (left atrial appendage) closure, depending on the condition of the patient. A PFO, can be treated with a device called occluder that is implanted across the hole in the heart and that could prevent recurrence of a stroke.
Dr Hazra highlighted that though there are various options of medications and devices available in the country, selection of these must be done with caution based on appropriate guidance. There are different guidelines available, depending on the severity of disease and every individual patient's condition, to prevent and treat the conditions, as well as for effective rehabilitation. Treatment of a stroke is a collaborative effort by a team of doctors that include neurologists, neuro radiologists and cardiologists, amongst others.
The discussion was in-depth and highlighted the need to educate, train and create awareness amongst the general public, along with paramedics, physicians, general practitioners, the primary care health workers and overall health care providers. This is because if a stroke can be identified early, the patient can be managed more effectively and efficiently. Finally, it is important to have a long-term vision, understand the cause through diagnosis & scans, make lifestyle changes, rectify, and control the condition through medication and timely interventions.
Strokes can be prevented and treated successfully. To know more about it, watch the video here
"The information mentioned in this document is only suggestive/for patient education and shall not be considered as a substitute for doctor's advice or recommendations from Abbott. Please consult your doctor for more information."
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