Islamabad, July 22, 2017 (PPI-OT): 16 to 17 million people worldwide suffer strokes each year, six million of whom do not survive, one in six people in the World suffers a stroke once in their lifetime, Prof Dr. Arsalan Ahmad, Consultant Neurologist Shifa International Hospital and President of Pakistan Society of Neurology quoting World Federation of Neurology on the occasion of this year’s World Brain Day.
He said that there are few other diseases for which treatment options have improved so radically over the past decade and a half. Today we can finally say that strokes are treatable. Stroke is one of the most important non-communicable disease, which is preventable and treatable, he said. This year’s theme for World brain day is “Stroke is a Brain Attack – Prevent it – Treat it”.
Pakistan Society of Neurology (PSN) together with Pakistan Stroke Society on Saturday organized an awareness seminar to mark World Brain Day in Hotel Margalla, Islamabad. The program was attended by neurologists, medical specialists and medical students of the twin cities.
Prof Mazhar Badshah, Head, Department of Neurology at PIMS and President Pakistan Stroke Society -discussed the prevention of Stroke. He said that a large proportion of all strokes are avoidable, according to data from the INTERSTROKE study. He highlighted ten influence able risk factors are responsible for 91 percent of all strokes worldwide. These are high blood pressure, physical inactivity, an unfavourable situation of blood lipids, poor diet, a high waist-to-hip ratio, psychosocial factors, and smoking, a high alcohol intake, cardiac disease and diabetes.
He said that high blood pressure is the single largest risk factor for stroke and hypertension is behind almost 50 percent of all strokes and also increases the risk of intra-cerebral haemorrhage, which often leads to particularly severe disabilities. There, is potential to add 100 million healthy years worldwide solely from effective strategies designed to reduce strokes. He said that in addition to focusing on the effective treatment of diabetes, increased blood lipids and atrial fibrillation, as well as preventing obesity and promoting physical activity, experts are also pushing for the speedy introduction of a global smoking ban.
Dr. Sahrish Aieshah Consultant Stroke Neurologist said that Stroke, its treatment and prevention must be given the highest priority in healthcare policy in every country. As advocates for stroke patients, we will not tire of calling for and promoting fair distribution of treatment opportunities for stroke patients. But for this to happen, all hospitals need to be equipped with specialist stroke units, and medicine for basic thrombolysis treatment needs to be made available. But that is not all.
Current Hyperacute Stroke care management module reflects the growing and changing body of research evidence available to guide assessment, diagnosis and management in first few hours after stroke. Since late 2014, five randomized controlled trials have been published, showing improved outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with endovascular therapy in addition to tPA thrombolysis (or without tPA thrombolysis in patients in which it is contraindicated) compared with the standard of care, which mainly included tPA thrombolysis alone. This is a paradigm shift in the management of acute stroke patients with large vessel occlusion who are either refractory to intravenous tPA or are contraindicated to it.
Prof Muhammad Tariq, Senior Consultant Neurologist in his concluding remarks said that alongside prevention, we have to promote awareness of how to detect and respond correctly in an emergency. Almost 70 percent of patients fail to identify transient ischemic attacks and even mild strokes. Even when symptoms are identifiable, almost one in three people do not seek immediate help. Reducing the amount of time that elapses between the emergence of the initial symptoms and the patient receiving care is a central factor in improving treatment outcomes, and can save many sufferers from a lifetime of severe disability.
He said simple guidelines to provide clarity in the event of a suspected stroke incident to help people with a non-medical background identify the wide range of different and often unclear symptoms:
F for face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
A for arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm numb and does it drift downward?
S for speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech slurred? Are they able to correctly repeat the words, or are they hard to understand?
T for time to call an ambulance: If someone shows any of these symptoms, time is crucial. Call an ambulance or help get the person to hospital immediately.
For more information, contact:
Shifa International Hospitals Limited
Pitras Bukhari Road H-8/4,
Islamabad – Pakistan