Strokes are a cardiovascular disease that can lead to sudden bleeding in the brain. A stroke or a brain attack can occur when blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, as a result of which parts of the brain become damaged or die. An ischemic stroke is one in which blood flow to the brain is blocked, as a result of which the brain cannot receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood. When the brain does not receive oxygen and nutrients, brain cells start dying within minutes.
A stroke in which there is sudden bleeding in the brain is called a haemorrhagic stroke. The brain cells become damaged due to the pressure exerted by the leaked blood. The majority of strokes are ischemic strokes.
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Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the fifth leading cause of disability in India, according to a February 2022 study published in the International Journal of Stroke.
The incidence of stroke in India is between 105 to 152 per 100,000 population per year, previous research has shown.
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From 1970 to 1979, and from 2000 to 2008, there has been more than 100 per cent increase in the incidence of stroke in low- and middle-income countries, including India, according to an August 2017 study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
It is challenging to accurately estimate the stroke burden in India due to a lack of reliable reporting mechanisms, different ways of performing studies, and small sample sizes.
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While prevalence refers to the existing cases, incidence indicates new cases. During the past decade, the cumulative incidence of stroke ranged from 105 to 152 per 100,000 persons per year, in different parts of the country. Meanwhile, the crude prevalence ranged from 44.29 to 559 per 100,000 persons.
During the past two decades, India has experienced demographic, economic, and epidemiological transitions, which have resulted in an increase in life expectancy and hence, an increase in ageing population.
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In high-income countries, there has been a decrease in stroke incidence by 42 per cent during the past four decades. In low-income countries, there has been an increase of 100 per cent.
Early stroke mortality rates are higher in low-income countries compared to high-income countries.
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Citing the example of a rural tribal area called Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, Dr Sonia Lal Gupta, Senior Neurologist and Director, Metro Group of Hospitals, told ABP Live that stroke is the leading cause of mortality in that region, accounting for 14.9 per cent of total deaths. “Recent studies indicate an estimated adjusted prevalence rate of 84-262 per 100,000 in rural areas and 334-424 per 100,000 in urban areas.”
Dr Gupta also said that global stroke cases are projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2050, and that India is not immune to this trend.
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She concluded that in order to address the stroke burden, people must improve their lifestyle, and adopt practices to address risk factors, because without intervention, the incidence of stroke in India may exceed the global average by 2050.
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