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48 die of stroke daily in Assam: Study

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Staff Reporter   |   Published 10.12.14, 12:00 AM

Guwahati, Dec. 9: As many as 4,000 people are detected with heart disease while 48 die of stroke every day in Assam.

A study carried out by GNRC Hospitals has not only revealed such facts but also set alarm bells ringing that the situation would turn worse if a massive awareness drive was not carried out by the government as well as private sectors to educate people about the diseases.

The study conducted by compiling and analysing data from medical records of GNRC Hospitals during the last 17 years and other publicly available sources has also revealed that two persons become disabled for life because of stroke every hour in the state. Hypertension or high blood pressure, which is one the prime causes for heart disease and stroke, affects 15,378 people daily in Assam.

Nomal Chandra Bora, chairman-cum-managing director of GNRC Hospitals, told reporters here today that though advancement of medical science has made it possible to manage and treat heart ailments, stroke and hypertension, lack of awareness about these diseases causes delay in treatment and finally claims many lives.

'During our study we found that many people who suffered from stroke were not at all aware of any of the risk factor or symptoms of the disease. There were cases when people had not moved to doctors or hospitals even after they had the stroke symptoms,' Bora said.

Bora said the warning signs of stroke are sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side, confusion or trouble understanding other people, trouble speaking, trouble seeing with one or both eyes, trouble walking or staying balanced or coordinated, dizziness and severe headache that comes on for no known reason.

According to Bora, similar is the case of cardiovascular diseases. He said the study has found that many people tend to ignore chest pain, which is often described as the beginning of cardiovascular diseases. In case of hypertension or high blood pressure it is more worrying since such ailment often affects the people without any warning sign.

'If people can be educated on the causes and symptoms of such diseases, many lives could be saved. For example, if one gets stroke symptoms he or she could immediately swallow an aspirin tablet which helps in preventing blood clotting. Immediate identification of symptoms of stroke helps patients to reach hospitals at the earliest and ensures chances of survival or recovery to more than 80 per cent,' Bora said.

Besides heart disease and stroke, the study has found over 99 per cent of epilepsy cases go untreated in Assam. Bora said there is also a very high percentage of epilepsy cases among children in the state. Untreated epilepsy affects development of brain and thus might jeopardise the future of the children.

Bora said while the hospital is carrying out an awareness drive, there is a need for concerted efforts by different agencies, both government and private, to create awareness about such diseases.

On trauma, the study has found that 50.4 per cent of deaths in Assam are caused because of road accidents. The state figure is higher than the national average of 36.4 per cent.

A health department official told The Telegraph that while more focus was being laid on creating awareness about cancer and AIDS, this was missing in case of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

'We will have to give awareness policy a rethink. Government hospitals like the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital will have to conduct regular heart check-up camps,' he said.

PREVENTION OPTION

  • Doctors say many patients cannot afford treatment of heart ailments and stroke because of high costs
  • The study recommends that awareness creation helps patients to identify the causes and thus helps in prevention of diseases
  • Dispur provides free treatment to children suffering from congenital heart disease and free heart surgery for adults belonging to economically weaker sections
  • GNRC Hospitals is carrying out a series of awareness programmes in schools across Assam


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