Every 20 seconds, one Indian suffers a brain stroke, or three every minute, and the numbers are increasing alarmingly due to changing lifestyles.

At this rate, around 1.54 million Indians are affected by
strokes every year and the worse is 90 per cent of stroke patients failed to
reach hospital on time.

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The lifetime risk of stroke after the age of 55 is 1 in 5
for women and 1 in 6 for men.

These revelations came at the ongoing 3-day Fourth Congress
of Society of Neuro Vascular Intervention (SNVICON) Mumbai 2019, with
international participation, here on Saturday.

Prominent speakers said the message was simple but alarming
– that in India, the numbers of brain strokes are increasing and it would not
be wrong to say they are “life-style related”.

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Breach Candy Hospital’s Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon and
Interventional Neurosurgeon Dr Anil P. Karapurkar said that like a healthy
heart, a healthy brain is important, for which precautions need to be taken.

“In case of a heart attack, it is either you are gone
or you recover. In case of a brain stroke, you may be gone, you may recover and
come to normal, or you become dependent for life,” Karapurkar warned.

He explained that in case of a heart attack, there are half
a dozen basic symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, pain in left shoulder
and upper abdomen, but in case of strokes, symptoms may vary depending on which
side of the brain is affected.

“Stroke is a sudden loss of function of a part of the
body. It can happen out of the blue. The simple rule to follow in case of a
stroke is – ‘BE FAST’ – Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, Time,” he
advised.

If a person suffers from problems in balancing, hoarseness
in voice, sudden loss of vision, drops an object, giddiness, the first thing is
to rush him to hospital without wasting time.

Karapurkar cautioned that treatment for brain strokes cannot
start at home and a CT Scan or a MRI Scan is necessary, and since 2015, doctors
follow a protocol of CT plus angio or MRI plus angio to tackle such cases.

The neurological fraternity is now contemplating
launching a massive outreach programme with family doctors and general
practitioners to create more awareness about how to deal with brain stroke
emergencies.

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