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Stroke Treatment In India: All You Need To Know
A stroke is a medical emergency that presents itself suddenly and requires immediate medical attention. In India, stroke is considered to be one of the leading causes of death and disability making it important to understand the condition and its symptoms.
A stroke is a cardiovascular accident – a condition in which the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain is interrupted. This interruption could be due to a blockage in a blood vessel or due to a haemorrhage caused by a ruptured blood vessel. When brain cells are deprived of oxygen they start to die within minutes. Delay in stroke treatment could lead to disability or even cause death.
F.A.S.T. is an acronym designed to create awareness about the signs and symptoms that present when a person suffers from a stroke.
F – drooping of FACE
A – inability to lift ARM
S – slurring of SPEECH, incoherence
T – TIME is of the essence
Stroke patients could also present with –
- confusion, inability to talk or communicate
- vision problems and/or dizziness/ loss of consciousness
- severe headache
- loss of balance, trouble walking
If someone you know presents with any of these symptoms, it is important that you call the emergency medical services of a reputed hospital immediately.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke in India
Once a stroke patient reaches the hospital, the diagnosis is confirmed by a thorough physical examination and blood tests. Imaging tests such as CT are very helpful in determining the exact type of stroke and location of the arterial bleed or blockage. The extent of damage to the brain tissue can be determined by using imaging techniques such as the MRI. The expert neurologists at CARE Hospitals may recommend other tests in specialised conditions. For example, if the stroke seems to have been caused by an embolism, an echocardiography guided ultrasound may be recommended.
The primary goal of stroke treatment is to minimise brain damage and restore blood flow to the brain. Some of the best stroke treatment hospitals in India inject TPA (tissue plasminogen activator), drug that breaks down blood clots within 3 hours of an ischemicclot. Blood thinners such as warfarin or aspirin may be administered. Surgery to restore the blocked or narrowed may also be a treatment option. Surgical treatment options are preferred for haemorrhagic strokes.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Recent studies reveal that the annual incidence of stroke is 145-154 per 100,000 individuals. Stroke incidences are higher in rural areas due to lack of proper health care and poor lifestyle habits. The risk of stroke is higher among those suffering from diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Women and elderly people are also at a higher risk. In fact, studies reveal that the risk of incurring a stroke doubles every decade after the age of 65.
Stroke prevention measures include –
- Regular health checks
- Healthy and nutritious diet
- Quitting tobacco use
- Regular exercise regimen
- Staying on mediation for diabetes and hypertension
Rehabilitation for Stroke Patients
Early treatment greatly reduces the risk of disability caused by stroke. Despite this, it is likely that patients may require rehabilitation aid in the form of speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, and even counselling for a period of time. It is important to enlist the help of doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists during this recovery and rehabilitation phase.