In line with its focus on creating awareness regarding brain stroke to reduce the burden of the disease, the Indian Stroke Association (ISA) has decided to observe October as Stroke Awareness Month.
The ISA has planned several programs and events, including public awareness campaigns, risk screening camps, audio-visual presentations for the public, patients, and caregivers, community engagement through social media and other platforms, collaborations with NGOs, educating students about stroke, and enrolling them as volunteers, among others, to spread stroke awareness throughout the month.
ISA has planned to rope in stroke survivors, and to engage with policymakers during World Stroke Month, which will culminate on the occasion of World Stroke Day on October 29.
“Brain stroke is on the rise in India with more than 18 lakh people suffering from stroke every year. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability and puts tremendous economic and social burden at personal, family, and community levels. But the fact is that 80% of the strokes can be prevented with lifestyle and behavioral changes, and this is what our efforts are focused on,” said Dr. Jeyaraj Pandian, President of ISA, and Vice President of World Stroke Organisation.
“In stroke cases, 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. The month-long activities will highlight various aspects related to stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery, and will mark a huge step in increasing stroke awareness,” said Dr. Arvind Sharma, Secretary of ISA.
The first week of the campaign will focus on spreading awareness regarding stroke and recognizing its signs. Activities in the second week will focus on knowing the risk of stroke and taking action to prevent it.
The third week will stress the importance of every minute in stroke cases and reaching the hospital early. The fourth week will focus on awareness activities with the message that stroke can be prevented, treated, and good recovery can be made.
What is stroke:
A stroke is a brain attack. It occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is disrupted either due to blockage or ruptured blood vessels in the brain. A stroke can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere.
A simple test to detect stroke symptoms is used worldwide called FAST
F- Face (Face drooping)
A- Arm (Weakness of one Arm)
S- Speech (Speech difficulties)
T- Time (Time to act fast)
At least eight out of 10 strokes can be prevented with the following measures:
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Moderate exercise 5 times a week
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Reducing cholesterol levels
- Stopping smoking
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Identifying and treating Atrial fibrillation
- Controlling diabetes
Stroke treatment facts:
- Early recognition makes a big difference, as realizing the signs of stroke and getting treatment quickly saves lives and improves recovery.
- There are many effective treatments for stroke if patients can reach a stroke-ready hospital in time.
- Intravenous clot-busting drugs can be effective if given within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke.
- Clot retrieval treatment using the latest endovascular techniques can help some patients up to 24 hours.
- Good Rehabilitation can reduce the stroke disability to a great extent.
- One in four survivors is likely to have another stroke, and regular treatment is a must to prevent one.