In the event of brain stroke, BE-FAST! But do you know how to BE-FAST?

Despite the rising incidence of brain stroke across the age range in India, there is a huge knowledge and awareness gap among the people about the symptoms and risks of stroke.

Alzheimer's Alzheimer's disease, Tuberculosis, TB vaccine, healthcare news,
The incidence was 8.8 per 1,000 person-years and 12.1 per 1,000 person-years in the respective groups, the researchers said.

By Dr Mukesh Sharma

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has seen a steady rise in India, accounting for over 60% of all deathsi. One of the leading NCDs that contributes to majority of death and disability in India is brain stroke, contributing to 18 lakh cases every yearii. Recent studies in India have shown that the risk of stroke exists not only among the elderly, but can impact over 10-15% of people under 40 as well.iii

While there are various factors responsible for the growth in the number of stroke cases, it is crucial to understand what exactly is a brain stroke.

A brain stroke, also called a brain attack, occurs when blood supply to any part of the brain is disrupted which deprives the brain tissue from receiving oxygen and nutrients causing brain cells to die. A stroke can permanently damage the brain, cause long-term disability, or even death. Lifestyle habits such as eating unhealthy food, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of physical activity and increased stress can all lead to stroke. Underlying medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are some of the most known risk factors for stroke.

Despite the rising incidence of brain stroke across the age range in India, there is a huge knowledge and awareness gap among the people about the symptoms and risks of stroke. A survey commissioned by Boehringer Ingelheim India and conducted by IPSOS, titled ‘State of stroke – A Survey on Awareness About Stroke in Urban India’, found that less than one in four Indians were aware of the risk factors of a brain stroke.

The lack of awareness can cause hinderance or delay in recognizing the symptoms of stroke and seek effective treatment in a timely manner. In some cases, this can have fatal consequences.

Hence, greater awareness around the disease, its symptoms, risk factors, is the need of the hour, as “time lost is brain lost”. The easiest way to recognize the signs of stroke is to BE FAST. But do you know how to BE FAST?

BE FAST is a simple acronym that can enable people to identify the symptoms of stroke in a timely manner and save lives.

Here’s how you can BE FAST –

  • B: Loss of Balance.
  • E: Loss of vision in one or both Eyes.
  • F: One side of the Face is drooping.
  • A: Feeling of weakness or numbness in one of the Arms.
  • S: Slurring in Speech. Is the patient unable to speak or understand others?
  • T: Time to call the emergency services and try to get emergency care at the earliest

In addition to raising public awareness around the symptoms, access to care and treatment is equally crucial in stroke cases. Stroke patients have a much greater chance of surviving and avoiding long-term brain damage if they arrive at a stroke ready center and receive treatment within a “golden period” of 4.5 hours. Timely treatment in golden period can reduce and reverse the damage to brain cells and it can prevent long term disability and morbidity. A stroke ready center is a hospital with 24/7 rapid diagnostic procedures like CT (Computed tomography scan) scans, MRI facilities and a dedicated stroke response team, equipped to provide emergency stroke care. Some awareness initiatives like Stroke of Support by Boehringer Ingelheim also help you locate your nearby stroke care center.

One must remember that the risk of a brain stroke can be reduced by adopting small, incremental steps like regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol consumption, quitting tobacco use, and eating healthy food. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way in preventing or delaying the onset of stroke. However, in the event of a brain stroke, BE-FAST!

(The author is a Director stroke and Neurointervention, Marengo CIMS hospital, Ahmedabad. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

First published on: 28-02-2023 at 08:00 IST
Exit mobile version