Stroke kills one Indian every 4 minutes: AIIMS neurologist

Stroke, which is the second commonest cause of death in India, kills one person in India every 4 minutes, Prof. M. V. Padma Srivastava, a neurologist at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)said on Thursday.

“About 1,85,000 strokes occur every year in India with nearly one stroke happening every 40 seconds,” the Padma Shri recipient said at an event held at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

According to Global Burden of Diseases (GBD), India has 68.6 per cent incidence of stroke, 70.9 per cent stroke deaths and 77.7 disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost.

These figures are alarming for India, particularly for people living in poor resource settings, Srivastava said.

Further, the stroke burden is greater among younger and middle aged people. The GBD analysis also showed that about 5.2 million (31 per cent) strokes were in children aged less than 20 years.

Despite these alarming figures, many Indian hospitals lack the necessary infrastructure and organisation required to treat stroke patients quickly and efficiently and do not deliver adequate stroke care, Srivastava said.

“The stroke services across the country, especially in public sector hospitals are deficient in many aspects.”

Strokes can be fatal or can lead to paralysis and should be treated as soon as possible. The ‘golden window’ for the treatment of stroke is considered to be 4.5. hours, beyond which certain therapies would not help reverse the damage to the neurons.

When it comes to timely stroke care access, India faces an infrastructural gap between urban and rural populations. Telemedicine can help improve the conditions, she suggested.

“One of the solutions for this deficiency in rich and poor resource settings in India is to adopt telestroke models in poor resource settings. Implementation of Telemedicine/telestroke facilities is an important step for bridging the economically and geographically challenged and underprivileged sections of the society, Srivastava said.

A study published in the journal Neurology shows that depression may be linked to stroke. People who have symptoms of depression may have an increased risk of having a stroke. Depression can also worsen recovery after a stroke.

Besides Covid has also been associated with increased levels of strokes. People with Covid were found to be over 2.5 times more likely to have an unfavourable outcome and face a difficult recovery post-stroke, according to a recent study by researchers at the Thomas Jefferson University in the US.

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