Paralysis post teenage years: backlash of a brainstroke

Login to Health August 10, 2018 Brain Diseases 239 Views

Suhas was barely out of his teens and lived a life of working hard, being responsible, diligent and extremely careful with money, just like many others in his middleclass neighbourhood; where the entire colony bonded with families sharing their little joys and sorrows.  An engagement ceremony would have people from adjacent buildings chipping in to erect lavish pandals and guests would be looked after like royalty. A Board exam topper or a national tournament winner would be given a hero’s welcome. An illness or death would cast a pall of gloom and in case of the former, what the doctor said would be everybody’s concern.

A fortnight ago, on a balmy morning, the entire community was shell-shocked when Suhas, who was on his way to the gate, suddenly collapsed. He held his head as things around him began to blur and in just 2-3 seconds a huge crowd had gathered, while few people whipped out their mobiles to call his parents…and a doctor. An ambulance whisked him away, with his father and two other caring neighbours, while his panic-stricken mother was being comforted by the womenfolk.

A sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, smoking – these are chiefly responsible for causing a stroke. But Suhas did not fall in any of these categories. He roughed out his morning and evening commutes which amounted to more than an hour and that was just one way. His job kept him on the move and he was physically fit to get into crowded trains, as part of the daily grind. He did not fritter away his hard earned money on cigarettes, mints and would spend cautiously for the occasional rickshaw. Then what went wrong, how did this strappy, young lad have a near death experience?

What is a brainstroke?

Neurosurgeons says, brainstrokes typically occurs when neurons in the mind do not receive enough nutrition and oxygen and this depletion prevents the rest of the body from its vital functions. As the organs stop working and the irreparable damage to the brain, result in what is termed as a brainstroke. To prevent this type of almost immediate paralysis, it is extremely important that a patient having a brainstroke is rushed to a well-equipped hospital where CT (computed tomography) scans, MRIs are done quickly followed by crucial, multi-disciplinary treatment. The patient’s motor skills and speech can be severely affected if timely and correct treatment is not provided.

In fact, India loses 5000 youth, every year, due to delayed, take-it-easy or negligent approach, when it comes to brainstroke. The doctor who treated Suhas, cites “Four and a half hours is all we have after a patient has suffered a brainstoke. The patient could die or get paralysed on one side – left or right; so people need to be aware how such a lot of damage can be done, by a single, little clot which rapidly travels to the brain.”

Another Neurologist, also present at the time had this to say, “It’s scary how the entire population is veering towards junk food. Instead of a healthy diet which provides our body with fuel, we eat excessively fried stuff. Where is the essential Vitamin B12, the fibre, the protein and minerals which a balanced diet provides?”

Fixing the problem

  • Late night parties with freely flowing booze, burgers and pizzas, should be avoided as these predispose people towards diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Small time clinics have mushroomed in cities and they may not detect danger signals of a stroke or onset of complications. Instead, have regular and comprehensive check-ups done at hospitals where trained medical staff will provide proper medical advice.
  • Clot-busters are to be administered within the 4-hour window after a brainstroke. This requires expert handling and telemedicine may also serve the purpose in some cases.
  • Besides heart-healthy diet, work-outs and the prescribed dose of 81 milligrams of aspirin, everyday, one also needs to combat stress. Fight it with meditation, hobby or any de-stressor.
  • Keep your medical information handy, especially if you’ve already suffered a brainstroke, once. This is necessary, as certain types of brainstroke treatments do not gel with certain medication.
  • A sophisticated and an intensive rehab programme is required. This would entail the services of specialized nurses, occupational and speech therapists, and at times psychologists.

Suhas, now has to be very careful that he doesn’t get a second stroke. He maintains a diary of the food he eats and has informed people around him to alert the team of specialists at a hospital, should an emergency arise.

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