Unhealthy Lifestyle, Smoking Causing Strokes Among Youth
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29 October 2010
By Somita Pal
An unhealthy lifestyle and rampant smoking has lead to a rise in the number of brain stroke cases among youth in Mumbai, said city doctors.
Doctors say, the age group getting a stroke has come down to 20s and 30s, which earlier was 50 and above.
"In India the stroke incidences are approximately at 130/lakh to 225/lakh (WHO). Taking that into consideration with Mumbai population of 1.3 crore, there could be at least 30,000 cases in city. In India, daily around 2,000 people get a stroke and many are untreated due to lack of awareness both among patients as well as physicians," said Dr Sunanda, D.M (Neurology), Nanavati Hospital.
Dr Uday Limaye, chief of neuro–interventional radiology, KEM hospital, said, "There is a 15% rise in youth getting strokes because of the unhealthy lifestyle. Smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, high stress levels are other reasons."
However, doctors say, the government is hardly doing anything about it. "Two years ago, Lilavati hospital did a survey and found that symptoms and reasons of brain stroke are similar to that in western cou–ntries. But those countries have found solutions by having dedicated helplines and ambulances and we still are struggling to get patients on time for treatment," said Dr Limaye.
"Government is aware of the rising number of stroke cases. Recently the first National programme for control of non–communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke was launched by the Centre, which aims at mass screening and controlling the diseases. Stroke happens to 14 lakh people in India and 30–35% of the patients die within the first month. Government should take active steps to lessen the number of cases and spread awareness through media and other channels," added Dr Sunanda.
Most commonly, patients experience a sudden paralytic attack on one half of the body and speech problems. At community level a FAST test (see picture) can be easily done by people, which helps in detecting the stroke before they can see a doctor. Loss of consciousness, loss of vision, double vision, imbalance etc are other symptoms.
"Unlike a heart attack, we have less time to save a patient getting a brain stroke. Most of the times we get patients three to four hours after the onset of the stroke. Time is crucial. Given the traffic in Mumbai, a dedicated stroke ambulance will help save a patient. Urgency can save the patient from morbidity," said Dr Limaye. According to the doctors, people after the age of 30 should regularly go for health check–ups.
Dr Sunanda said, "The ‘clot breaking drug’, or t-PA, is a medication that can be given through an IV and is designed to break blood clots. It must be given within 4.5 hours of the first stroke symptoms.