6 m people die of stroke globally every year: WHO

6 m people die of stroke globally every year: WHO

Nearly six million people across the globe die of stroke each year according to a survey conducted by World Health Organisation.

The numbers are increasing. ‘Because I Care’ is the slogan chosen for this World Stroke Day. Doctors from across the City are trying to spread awareness about stroke, its causes and preventive measures. 

Keeping blood pressure under control does not just help one cut down the risk of heart attack but also that of stroke, explain doctors. “It is not necessary that blood pressure be too high. Even mild variations may up the risk of a person getting a stroke,” Dr Vikram Huded, Head of interventional neurological stroke, Narayana Institute, said, adding that this might be gradual in few cases yet chronic.

Dr Vikram also added that the occurrence of stroke is higher in men as compared to women. “Women have the hormone estrogen that protects them against many health problems. It is the same hormone that defends them from stroke,” he said.

We have two types of stroke namely Ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. High blood pressure can cause hemorrhagic stroke, said Dr Ajit Benedict Royan, Vice President, Hosmat hospital. “It is exactly what happens when water at a very high pressure passes through a narrow pipe.”  He explained that when a blood vessel in the brains surface ruptures due to pressure, or when a defective artery bursts, it leads to hemorrhage. This in turn leads to a stroke.

While smoking can double the risk, high blood sugar level, uncontrolled diabetes, heart disorders, high cholesterol, obesity, excessive alcohol and drug abuse could also contribute to the risk, he said. The severity of stroke depends on the extent and location of brain cell damage. “As different parts of brain control different organs, the effect depends on which part of the brain is injured,” said Dr Chandan Gnanamuthu, senior neurologist at Fortis Hospitals.

Sometimes, blood pressure recorded at home may be inappropriate. Thus intervention of a professional becomes necessary, he added. “ The first four hours from the onset of a stroke are the most important hours for an effective recovery,” he said.

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