A third of strokes caused by air pollution, lifestyle diseases in India

P.N. Renjen
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New Delhi– As India continue to report 16 lakh cases of stroke every year, health experts have said that at least one third of these cases are caused by mere modifiable lifestyle factors and deteriorating air quality.

A study concluded by the city-based Fortis Escorts Heart Institute reveals that lifestyle problems such as depression, chronic anxiety and job stress trigger the brain and heart strokes among people, including youth.

It was found that among the challenges faced by the patients who survive stroke are short-term memory loss, difficulty in thinking and depression.

P.N. Renjen
P.N. Renjen

“Pollution in the air thickens the blood and hardens arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Once this process starts, the plaque is built up in the arteries, narrowing them down and causing strokes,” said P.N. Renjen, Senior Consultant Neurologist at Indraprastha Apollo, and added this also raises the blood pressure, boosting the risk of clot formation in the brain.

Renjen said that as conditions in India are severe, job stress, anxiety and depression and other lifestyle issues trigger the stroke in a much faster way.

World Stroke Day falls on October 29.

“The challenge is huge with 26 million stroke survivors living with significant disabilities that impede their ability to carry out daily living tasks. One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. The symptoms of stroke occur all of a sudden and patient will benefit if these are recognised and treated early,” said Vipul Gupta, Director of neurointervention at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.

Stating that the stroke is the third most common cause of death and disability in India, Gupta said: “Every minute if stroke is untreated, the average patient loses 1.9 million neuron. Golden hour of stroke is first six hours, and urgent treatment is the key.”

Talking about the new developments in strokes, Gupta said that women who take birth control pills are at a slightly higher risk of stroke.

“Risk increases for a woman during pregnancy as the increased blood pressure puts stress on the heart. Also, migraine can cause chances of stroke three times up in women,” added Gupta.


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