Stroke cases show alarming increase in Valley

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By: Arshad M Bhat
Srinagar, Dec 12: The number of stroke cases has shown an alarming increase in the Valley with health experts advising persons vulnerable to the ‘brain attack’ to remain more cautious during winters.
Doctors in the premier tertiary care, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura reveal that the Institute received 1080 stroke cases during current year. “Out of these, 800 were brain haemorrhage cases (caused by rupture of vessels) and 280 were ischemic patients (caused due to vessel blockage),” Dr Ravouf Asmi, Associate Professor at the Department of Neurology in SKIMS told Greater Kashmir.
He said the number of stroke cases is showing alarming increase in the Valley and the number of such patients soars with each passing day. “A study conducted by renowned neurologist, Prof Sushil Razdan in1989 had put the stroke prevalence rate at 143 cases/1 lakh people in Kashmir,” Dr Ravouf said adding the Institute in 2005 used to receive 700 cases a year.
Dr Ravouf said the stroke was occurring predominantly in males above the age of 60-years. “There, however, have been few cases of stroke in youth and children also,” he said.
A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. It is sometimes called “brain attack.”
According to health experts, if blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cells die, causing permanent damage. There are two major types of stroke – ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot while a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain.
Dr Ravouf attributes the growing number of stroke cases in Kashmir to the sedentary habits among the people, changing lifestyles and consumption of fatty foods. “Lack of physical activity coupled with the continuous intake of animal fats and salt tea, particularly during winter causes stroke among many persons,” he said, adding that smoking, hypertension and diabetes also lead to stroke.
According to the medico, the stroke was now considered as the second leading cause of death across the world. “It is fatal if the patient doesn’t receive treatment on time,” the medico added.
He said the persons having symptoms like, sudden loss of consciousness, sudden weakness of one limb or one half of the body or face, sudden loss of vision or speech should be immediately shifted to the hospital for treatment.
“The new treatment available in SKIMS can save the life of the patient if he/she is brought within three hours from the time they had the stroke,” the medico said adding further delay in bringing to the hospital could result in his death or permanent disability.
Dr Ravouf said a Continued Medical Education (CME) on brain attack was held at SKIMS in which the current management of this problem was deliberated in detail by Dr Sawan Kumar Verma of the Department of Neurology.
SKIMS Director, Prof Showkat Ali Zargar underscored the need to spread awareness among the public about the availability of drugs and start of such treatment at the institute.

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