Third largest killer in modern time


It was an usual health check-up camp for journalists at Guwahati Press Club, where the menace of stroke was discussed elaborately. Organized by GNRC Hospitals, Guwahati on the occasion of World Stroke Day on October 29, the Free Screening Camp for Detection and Prevention of Stroke was aimed to make the media persons enlighten about the third largest killer (after the heart attack and cancer) in India.

As the name suggests, the stroke or acute brain disorder occurs all of a sudden irrespective of the age and gender of an individual. The most horrible statistics are that one in six persons in the world will face the stroke in their lifetime. More to it, one person dies from stroke in every six seconds in the globe.

The day long camp was inaugurated by the eminent Assamese film and theatre personality Pranjal Saikia, which was also graced by Dr N C Borah, an acclaimed neurologist of India. The CMD of GNRC Hospitals disclosed some stunning information regarding the prevalence of stroke in Assam and northeast India. According to Dr Borah every day not less than 80 people in Assam (which has a population of around 30 million) suffers from the stroke.

“Many patients die on way to the hospital as the common people have very limited knowledge of stroke. The relatives of the patients take longer time to realize that it was stroke and that way the golden period (immediate first three hours after the stroke) is lost. Otherwise, 70% of patients can be treated and the patients can go back to his work after the treatment,” said the modest neurologist.

According to the physicians’ language, a stroke (also known as brain attack) occurs due to the impairment of blood supply to a part of the brain leading to sudden focal brain dysfunction and resulting in sudden neurological deficit. The severity of stroke depends on the extent of brain damage and the location on the brain where the damage has occurred. Stroke can be classified into two types: one caused by a blockage of a brain blood vessel and the second by the rupture of these blood vessels.

The immediate symptoms of patients will be sudden feeling of weakness, blurring of vision, difficulty to walk & speech, sudden confusion, loss of balance, severe headache, vertigo, vomiting etc. There may be also a mild stroke, which an individual suffers for some hours. The mini stroke has all the symptoms of stroke but those may disappear in 24 hours. But it should not be ignored as a mild stroke can be the warning of an imminent major stroke.

Mentionable is that the stroke claims nearly six million lives annually in the world. The WHO estimates 80% stroke cases in the globe will occur in low and middle income countries including India in the coming days. The populous country records over 1.7 million stroke cases annually, where 30 per cent succumb to the brain disorder and among the surviving most of them have to lead a disabled life. India is apprehended to report over 1.5 million cases of stroke annually by 2015.

Dr Borah highlighted about some risk factors leading to stroke that include high blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar with the habit of smoking, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity etc. Similarly the growing ages increases the risk of stroke. Various studies confirm that males are more prone to stroke than females. The family history of stroke is also not ignorable.

Though the blockage of a brain blood vessel is the most frequent cause of stroke and it is responsible for nearly 80% of the cases, the people of northeast India mostly suffers from rupture of blood vessels, which is very dangerous, Dr Borah disclosed. The soft spoken physician, who has treated nearly 25000 stroke patients in GNRC till date, however admitted that no particular reason is yet to be cited for this phenomenon.

Over hundred journalists participated in the GNRC sponsored health camp where 15 per cent media persons were advised for further course of treatment. The attending doctors Dr Amit Ranjan Baruah and Dr Aparajita Barman informed that over 20 per cent of the participants were diagnosed with hypertension and around 10 per cent were detected with high sugar content in blood.

The stressful life and irregular food make the media persons vulnerable for hearth attack and stroke. Shockingly most the
journalists of Assam donot enjoy health insurance facilities. Their salary and other benefits are also reported below compared to other professionals. At the same time, the Assam government too does not have clear cut policy to support the journalists in the time of health care related crisis.

The camp was also attended by Satabdi (Pinki) Borah, Mrinal Ali Hazarika, Rajib Lahkar with Priyanka Borah, Rajkumar Gowda, Arvind Bhatta, Santanu Bhattacharya, Diganta Goswami, Tridip Gogoi, Nirupa, Sofia, Romita, Raghu, Rahman, Manoj, Harmohan, Dipen, Jaodi etc from the GNRC Hospitals which was set up in 1987 and now equipped with a dedicated team of 100 doctors, 300 nurses, 600 supporting staffs to provide care for patients in 200 beds (110 are in ICU).

Dr Borah appeals to the media should to play a significant role in sensitizing the common people about the risk factors of stroke and argues that the journalists thus can help in preventing or reducing the loss of many precious lives and the after-stroke disabilities. He also believes that the media can propagate the message of healthy life style and food habits that can save thousands of families out of ruin because of the stroke.

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Third largest killer in modern time

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