Categories: Neurology

“Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time.”

On the occasion of World Stroke day, Narayana Health brings this Stroke Campaign – to share life-saving information about how to prevent and deal with stroke.

Stroke is a leading killer disease worldwide; it is the third leading cause of death and disability in India. Stroke is a silent killer, accounting for more deaths each year than deaths through malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. But stroke gets much less public attention as an epidemic.

Stroke can be defeated, at the individual, community, country and worldwide levels. The first step to fight stroke is to learn the basics about stroke, the knowledge that helps us to act in time to save a family member, friend, colleague or anyone in sudden stroke-hit distress.

Basics about stroke

A clot (thrombosis) blocks the artery supplying blood to the brain, and this leads to a brain stroke. The part of the brain gets deprived of oxygen in the blood. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain stops. Brain tissues are damaged, leading to the life-threatening condition of a brain stroke.

The types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke – The most common type of stroke when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – a blood vessel bursts, leading to internal bleeding in the brain.
  • ‘Mini-strokes’ or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) occur due to a brief interruption in the blood supply to the brain.

Early signs of a stroke:

  • Sudden severe headache
  • Trouble seeing from one or both eyes
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, difficulty in speaking or understanding speech
  • Difficulty in walking, dizziness, loss of balance or co-ordination

If any of the above symptoms persist, quickly go to a stroke-ready hospital.

High-Risk Categories for Stroke:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure and older than 50 years
  • More ‘Yes’ as the answer to the questions below means a greater risk of a stroke:
  1. Do you have high blood pressure?
  2. Are you older than 50 years?
  3. Do you have more than two alcoholic drinks a day?
  4. Do you smoke?
  5. Do you have high cholesterol?
  6. Do you have diabetes?
  7. Are you overweight?
  8. Do you walk or exercise less than three times a week?
  9. Do you often eat greasy, fried, or salty foods?

Narayana Institute of Neurosciences

The Department of Neurosciences at Narayana Health serves neurological patients with a mission to provide high-end care at an affordable cost. The neurosciences department delivers a cutting edge and state-of-the-art neurological services at par with the best in the world.

For treating stroke, Narayana Health uses state-of-the-art techniques such as Temporary Endovascular Bypass Procedure.

The Hybrid Cath Lab/Suite is one such state-of-the-art technique used in Narayana Health hospitals. This is a brand new concept and Narayana Health is privileged to have installed the first-of-its-kind in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Hybrid Cath Lab operating suite incorporates all types of equipment, monitoring devices, and technology needed for neurological procedures. This lab makes minimally invasive interventions possible with ‘live’ top-end 3D imaging which significantly reduces the margin for error, thereby reducing to a great extent the surgery and recovery time.

Narayana Health hospitals offer comprehensive packages for the treatment of epileptic care, cerebral stroke. The package includes rehabilitation and evaluation of complex neuromuscular disorders. A recommended course of treatment is followed. A Narayana Health hospital stroke team at service includes a neurosurgeon, neuro-physicians, interventional neurologist and a radiologist.

Prevention is better than cure

A greater focus must be on increasing awareness about stroke and its prevention, rather than it’s cure.

Preventive Procedures

Removal of plaque – fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances – found in the blood. Gradually, plaque hardens and blocks the carotid arteries, thereby reducing or stopping the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This can lead to a stroke.

Medical procedures to unclog the arteries:

  • Angioplasty/Stents – a pin-hole, a nonsurgical procedure in which the doctors use Balloon Angioplasty and implantable steel screens to clear the blocked blood vessel.
  • Carotid Endarterectomy or Carotid Artery Surgery – a surgical procedure in which the blood vessel blockage (fatty plaque) is surgically removed from the carotid artery.

Stroke FAQs

Dr. Vikram Huded, Head of Interventional Neurology and Stroke, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Narayana Health City, Bangalore answers key questions about brain stroke:

Q: What treatment is there for a stroke?

Answer: If the patient is brought to the hospital within the four hours of the symptoms, Ischemic strokes can be reversed by re-opening the blocked vessel. Stroke can be prevented by stenting and controlling the risk factors.

Q: What are the effects of a stroke?

Answer: Every stroke is different. Every person affected by stroke will have different problems and different needs. How one might be affected depends on where in the brain the stroke occurs and how big is the stroke. A stroke on the right side of the brain generally causes problems on the left side of the body. A stroke on the left side of the brain causes problems on the right side of the body. Some strokes happen at the base of the brain and can cause problems with eating, breathing and moving.

Q: Does diabetes increase the risk of a stroke?

Answer: Diabetes is a prominent risk factor for ischemic but not hemorrhagic stroke. It is responsible for 7% of deaths in stroke patients. The risk is more in females when compared to males and the risk increases in the fifth and sixth decade, decreasing thereafter. Lacunar infarcts caused by small ischemic lesions in deep regions of the brain and brainstem caused by occlusion of small penetrating branches of major cerebral arteries occur more frequently in patients with diabetes and hypertension.

Q: What are some of the good habits needed to prevent stroke?

Answer: Watching what you eat and being physically active are high on the list. They help you feel better too. In many cases, living a healthy lifestyle reduces the need for medical treatment. One can reduce the risk of having a stroke when they take action to improve their health by a few simple lifestyle changes.

Manage your blood sugar, eat right, control your high blood pressure, exercise, do not smoke and avoid alcohol – these are basics of a healthy lifestyle needed to prevent any life-threatening disease, including a brain stroke.

Dr. Vikram Huded, Senior Consultant – Neurology, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Narayana Health City

Narayana Health

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