Thursday, July 29

Incidence of stroke increased during pandemic, says expert – The Hindu

A stroke is a disease which affects the arteries of the brain. Whenever an artery carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain gets obstructed by a clot (ischaemic stroke) or ruptures (haemorrhagic stroke), the specific part of the brain where this happens dies.

There is also the possibility of a mini or temporary ischaemic stroke caused by a floating clot, temporarily blocking the blood supply. The effect of any type of stroke is debilitating as restricted blood flow alters or stops the functions of that specific part of the brain, sometimes leading to paralysis.

In the present pandemic time due to the vascular involvement noted in the pathogenesis of the disease, the incidence of stroke has increased as a part of COVID-19 disease and also as a post-COVID complication, says Dr. CH Vijay, consultant neurologist, KIMS ICON, Vizag, on the eve of World Stroke Day.

A 2017 survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) found that Indians are at a higher risk of developing strokes compared with people living in the US. Three Indians suffer a stroke in every three minutes.

Some signs of a stroke are weakness on one side of the body, numbness of the face, severe headache, numbness and tingling sensation all over the body and change in gait.

Reducing the intake of junk food, saturated fat and salt intake is the key to keep blood pressure under control as high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke. Obesity and higher fat content in the body is another risk factor for stroke.

The Body Mass Index (weight to height ratio) should be below 25. Exercising every day, limiting alcohol consumption, keeping diabetes under control and quitting smoking are some of the other ways to reduce the risk, says Dr. Vijay.

The US-based National Stroke Association came up with an easy way to recognise a stroke. One should remember the acronym: ‘BE FAST’. One can identify a person, likely to develop stroke, when he/she has difficulty in ‘Balance’, has lost vision in one or both ‘Eyes’, his/her ‘Face’ droops to one side while smiling, has difficulty lifting their ‘Arms’, develops a slur in ‘Speech’ and when any of these signs are noticed in oneself or anyone else, it is ‘Time’ to call emergency.

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