On World Stroke Day, Dr P K Hazra, Head of Cardiology, AMRI Hospital, Kolkata, stressed the need to raise awareness of the warning signs for a stroke and the immediate action to be taken to save lives. This year, the theme for World Stroke Day is: #UpAgainAfterStroke. In keeping with this focus, Dr P K Hazra, Head of Cardiology, AMRI Hospital, Kolkata emphasised the need to provide the required support and rehabilitation to help patients get back on their feet after a stroke and begin to lead as normal a life as possible.
A person has a stroke when the flow of blood to a part of the brain is cut off, because of a blood clot or burst blood vessel in the brain. If this occurs for more than a few seconds, the brain is deprived of nutrients and oxygen, causing brain cells to die which leads to irreversible damage.
Dr P K Hazra, Head of Cardiology, AMRI Hospital, Kolkata added, “When people suffer a stroke, they are unable to help themselves at that moment. Unfortunately, many Indians are completely unaware of how to render help to a patient at such a time.ii Everyone must therefore be aware of the signs of a stroke, in order to identify patients and help them get the immediate medical attention they need. Recovery takes time, effort and adjustment by the patient and caregivers, but with the right kind of support, patients can continue to live a fulfilling life.”
According to a studyii, a mere 6.2% of urban Indians are able to identify all three signs of a stroke while 55% of Indians could only identify one of the signs. Poor awareness contributes to delayed arrival of patients at the hospital, which affects treatment and recovery.
Speaking about life after a stroke, Dr P K Hazra, Head of Cardiology, AMRI Hospital, Kolkatasaid, “People who have suffered a stroke often live with some lingering disability and feel that they are suffering alone. Adjusting to a different way of life after a stroke is an important aspect of the recovery process. By working with their healthcare provider, setting goals and tracking improvement, patients can make steady and significant progress. Thousands of patients are currently dependent on blood thinners as a solution but they also come with a serious side effect, too: the risk of dangerous heavy bleeding. Because these medicines work by interfering with your blood’s ability to coagulate (clump together), they can either prevent a clot from forming or keep an already-existing one from getting larger. With medical advancements, patients now have the option to opt for surgeries such as LAAC that can prevent them from this situation.”
People who smoke, are obese, have elevated cholesterol levels or high blood pressure are at a higher risk of a stroke. Also included in the high-risk category are patients who have atrial fibrillation and are on blood thinners. For these patients with a non-valvular defect, there are medical devices such as a Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) implant which can reduce the risk of stroke and eliminate the dependency on blood thinning medication reducing the danger of risk of bleeding.