@Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
New Delhi: To honour the round the clock efforts of caregivers in assuring proper care to the stroke survivors, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in collaboration with Indian Stroke Association organised a public awareness talk today, on the occasion of World Stroke Day. Dr Vinit Suri, Senior Consultant, Neurology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals and President Elect Indian Stroke Association addressed the gathering and informed them regarding methods to recognize, manage and prevent this devastating disorder. Dr. Suri also highlighted the key role that a caregiver plays in facilitating the recovery of a stroke survivor and improving their quality of life.
Talking about the alarming rise in the number of patients suffering from stroke, Dr. Vinit Suri said, “It is estimated that every 2 seconds stroke attacks a person somewhere in the world and every six seconds one stroke related death occurs worldwide. One in six people in the world will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. 17 million strokes occur annually across the world with 5 million of these not surviving. The incidence of stroke in lower and middle income countries like India is increasing due to poor preventive strategies and 1.4 million strokes occur annually in India. On the other hand stroke incidence has been reducing in higher income countries where preventive care is widely available. Though stroke treatments are available in India, they are extremely limited and mostly available in metropolitan cities only. More importantly people are not aware of as to how to recognize stroke and how to have the immediate emergency treatment which can make a major difference in the outlook of this devastating and disabling disorder. People don’t have knowledge of its symptoms and they don’t realise that they are victims of the disease. Taking the patient to the hospital within the Golden hour period (within 4.5 hours) is extremely important. Patients who reach the hospital within that period receive thrombolytics or ‘clot buster’ drugs on time, which opens the blocked vessel and helps them recover fast.”
“Taking proper care of a person suffering from stroke is extremely critical. There are higher chances of a stroke patient to have a stroke again, if proper care and healthy diet is not maintained. Hence, the role of a caregiver, who day in and day out provides care to stroke patients and survivors, is of utmost importance and essential for recovery,” said Dr Suri.
“Weakness, numbness or paralysis in face, arm or leg (typically on one side of the body), slurred or distorted speech or difficulty in understanding others, dizziness, sudden severe headache with no known cause are some of the common symptoms of the disease. The pneumonic BEFAST can help people to remember the symptoms of Stroke (B-Balance loss, E- vision loss in one or both Eyes, F- facial tilt, A-Arm drift, S-Speech slurring or loss, F- time to act Fast).People must be aware of these symptoms and caregivers need to be extra careful in recognizing these. Knowledge about the symptoms and an immediate action upon them is the best preventive measure for this disease,” further adds Dr Suri.
Stroke is a preventable disorder and easy life style changes can markedly reduce the chances of suffering from a stroke. The 9 Preventive Strategies for stroke include control of blood pressure, control of diabetes, controlling cholesterol levels, regular exercise, stopping smoking and tobacco chewing, reduction of body weight, appropriate diet modification, avoiding alcohol or drinking in moderation and controlling cardiac disease, especially atrial fibrillation.
Mrs. Pooja Gulliani, a caregiver said, “Despite being just 42 years old my husband suffered from stroke for the second time in his life, in April this year. He was on regular medication post his first attack in August, 2015. My mother in law too suffered from a stroke in January this year. These incidences made me acutely aware of the symptoms of this disease. So, this time when my husband got blank and had distorted speech, I immediately took him to Apollo Hospital where Dr. Vinit Suri treated him. Now as I take care of two stroke survivors at my home, I feel that it is extremely crucial to be aware of the symptoms of this disease.”
“I am a retail professional and I was taking an interview when I realized that I am not able to speak as fluently as I normally do. My speech was affected and I was not able to gather my thoughts. Everything seemed blurred to me. Seeing my condition, my colleagues took me to Apollo Hospital immediately, where Dr. Vinit Suri informed me that I had a stroke. My blood pressure and sugar were very high. I had high cholesterol too. As I was brought to the hospital on time, I was treated with clot buster’ drugs and there was no requirement of putting a stent. All thanks to my colleagues and Dr. Suri who treated me immediately for the disease. I even recovered fast and resumed office within few days but Dr. Suri has advised me to closely monitor my BP and sugar regularly and follow a healthy diet regime,” said Mr Atul Gulati, a stroke survivor.