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25% of stroke patients in India aged below 50: Indian Stroke Association

  • India records nearly 18 lakh cases of stroke every year, according to ISA

Chennai: The incidence of stroke among younger Indians is on the rise. According to the Indian Stroke Association (ISA), nearly 25 per cent of the stroke patients in the country are below the age of 50. This includes several patients in the age group of 19-30. India reports approximately 18 lakh cases of stroke every year, as per ISA.

October 29 is celebrated as World Stroke Day. As part of its celebration of Stroke Awareness Month, ISA has been running an extensive social media campaign with the hashtag #ProtectYourBrain – KnowAboutStroke since the start of the month.

“Stroke is a brain attack and is the leading cause of disability and second leading cause of death in India. One person has a stroke in India every 40 seconds, and one-fourth of the patients are less than 50, including a large number who are in the age group of 19-30,” said Dr Jeyaraj Pandian, president, ISA.

Lifestyle change can prevent stroke

A sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, and lack of regular exercise are the key factors that lead to stroke. It is estimated that 80% of stroke cases can be prevented with lifestyle and behavioural changes.

“Stroke can happen to anyone, at any age and anywhere. It is estimated that one in every four persons will have a stroke during their lifetime. The risk can be reduced by regular checks for hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, etc. Exercising regularly, maintaining the right weight, quitting smoking, and giving up alcohol consumption can also help reduce the risk of stroke. Primary Prevention, Acute Treatment and Stroke Rehabilitation are key comprehensive treatments of stroke,” said Dr Arvind Sharma, secretary, ISA.

 ‘North-Eastern, coastal states at higher risk due to higher salt intake’

At 19-24% in most states, the stroke fatality rate in India is much higher than in developed countries due to lower awareness about stroke prevention and treatment.

However, the fatality rate in North-Eastern states and coastal states is as high as 42%, among the highest in the world, which is attributed to higher salt intake.

“In the North East, many people have salted tea, and in coastal areas, the consumption of dried fish, which has a lot of salt, increases the risk for hypertension, which in turn contributes to higher stroke risk,” said Dr Pandian.

‘Golden period critical’

“In the event of a stroke, recognising the symptoms and reaching the hospital in time is critical. There are many effective therapies for stroke if administered within the golden period of 4.5 hours of getting the stroke. During stroke, 20 lakh neurons die every minute, and hence the need to act fast,” said Dr P Vijaya, executive committee member of ISA



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