Expert says a healthy lifestyle can prevent strokes

At a wellness webinar, a city-based neurologist also stressed the need to understand symptoms and get medical attention on time

Did you know that every minute after a stroke occurs, 19 lakh brain cells die? These cells can never be replaced — but seeking medical attention immediately mitigates the after-effects of a stroke, said Shankar Balakrishnan, intervention neurologist at MIOT International.

At a wellness webinar hosted by The Hindu jointly with MIOT International on Saturday, Dr. Shankar explained the need to keep diabetes and blood pressure under control. “Stroke doesn’t have to mean death and disability. The warning symptoms of stroke are FAST – facial drooping, weakness of arms, speech difficulty and knowing when to call an ambulance,” he said. Sometimes, loss of balance, vision and a tingling sensation in one half of the body should ring alarm bells in the brain, Dr. Shankar explained.

“Time is brain” – every moment after a stroke, blood supply is cut off to the brain. The patient should reach a comprehensive centre with imaging facilities and an intervention neurologist as soon as possible.

“We have to remove the block and restore the blood flow. A brain scan will tell whether there is a bleed or a clot,” he said, based on which treatment is planned. A patient should reach a treatment centre within 4.5 hours of the onset of the symptoms so that treatment can be started immediately. “Stroke does not have to mean death and disability. Most patients do recover and rehabilitation is necessary,” he said. It is better to prevent strokes by improving one’s lifestyle instead of seeking medical help later, he added.

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