In the recently concluded 10th World Stroke Congress 2016 at Hyderabad, jointly organised by World Stroke Organisation (WSO) and Indian Stroke Association & Medtronic Inc., medical practitioners announced the launch of Stroke Roadmap in India. Currently, stroke incidence in India is much higher than western industrialised countries. With a population of 1.2 billion today and growing, India finds itself staring at a stroke epidemic.
The officials claim that the newly designed roadmap is intended to guide local healthcare officials and stroke care clinical groups in establishing stroke systems of care and will provide the framework for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of stroke services nationally. In an exclusive interaction with BioSpectrum, Dr Jeyaraj Durai Pandian, Head of Neurology, Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana elaborates on the subject and how the Stroke Roadmap might prove a perfect shield to doge off the disease.
Q1. Why stroke rate is getting higher in India, specifically among the young generations?
1.8 million Indians out of a population of 1.2 billion suffer from stroke every year. Common risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and dyslipidaemia are prevalent and insufficiently controlled due to low awareness levels of the disease. One of the primary factors of early stroke is the so-called 'cafeteria diet' which is rich in high-calorie, high-sugar and high-salt foods. Smoking and uncontrolled alcohol consumption also serve to exacerbate the situation.
The rising incidence of stroke in India indicates the inadequate levels of awareness and education about the disease. A stroke can strike anyone, at any time. Stroke rates among young and middle-aged people nationwide are increasing, almost 15 to 20 per cent of strokes occur in people in their 30s and 40s.
Q2. What is the general perception of the denizens of the country regarding stroke?
Surveys conducted over the last ten years reveal that about one-fourth of urban and one-third of rural respondents had no knowledge of any warning symptoms of stroke. Only 55 per cent of the urban population were aware of one warning symptom of stroke; 16.2 per cent were aware of two symptoms; and, only 6.2 per cent could identify three symptoms.
Many people affected by stroke are unable to access treatment and rehabilitation due to lack of awareness. People generally tend to ignore the symptoms of stroke. That's why the awareness campaigns undertaken by the World Stroke Organization and Medtronic are so important.