Fat deposits cause for 30 per cent of ‘brain attacks’

December 7, 2017  11:51

Thirty percent of ischemic strokes (vessel clot) in the country are caused by atherosclerosis (fat deposit in arteries) affecting blood supply to the brain, followed by 25 per cent due to strokes from clots in the heart that get dislodged and obstruct blood flow to the brain (embolization). This is based on a study carried out in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital at five centers in the country, comprising Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, All India Institute for Medical Sciences, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and Christian Medical College, Ludhiana

As The Deccan Chronicle reports, a stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is either interrupted or reduced due to a clot in the vessel (ischemic stroke) or there is rupture of blood vessel in the brain (haemorhagic stroke). When this happens, the brain does not get enough oxygen or nutrients, a condition termed ‘ischemia’ that causes brain cells to die. What is more, half of all patients with stroke are disabled for life. In contrast to the western population, the mean age of stroke incidence in India is 58 years, imposing a heavy financial burden on the family when the main income generator suffers a stroke. The study has also revealed that tobacco use (32 p.c.), hypertension (61 p.c.) and diabetes mellitus (36 p.c.) are significantly higher in our stroke populat on.

The findings draw attention to significant morbidity associated with stroke, with 44 percent of patients disabled for life after stroke. The earlier the patient reaches hospital and receives thrombolytic treatment, better the outcome after stroke.  Dr P.N. Sylaja, professor of neurology in charge of the Comprehensive Stroke Care Programme at Chitra medical centre, says the study underscores the urgent need to address vascular risk factors in our population to reduce the risk of not only adverse cardiac events but also of stroke.  Surprisingly, very little information is available on the cause and outcome of ischemic strokes in India. The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the Department of Biote-chnology, Government of India. It was published in Stroke journal in November 2017. 

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