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History of stroke raises dementia risk by 70 percent

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Mumbai: People who have suffered a stroke are more likely to develop dementia, as per a recent study by the University of Exeter Medical School. It was found that the link between stroke and dementia persisted even after considering other dementia risk factors such as blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The doctors said a history of stroke increases dementia risk by about 70%, and recent strokes more than doubled the risk.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates indicate that there are about 15 million who suffer from stroke annually around the world. There are also 50 million people suffering from dementia. The number is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 131 million by 2050.

Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, stroke or a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) results from a sudden blood loss to the brain or bleeding within the brain resulting in the impairment of neurological function. Obesity, smoking, hypertension, alcohol consumption, diabetes and family history are considered some of the common factors leading to a stroke. Moreover, if the answer to any of the following questions below is a yes, there’s a high probability that the person is having a stroke. “Act FAST: Face —- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Arms — Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Speech — Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Does he or she fail to repeat the sentence correctly? and Time — If the answer to any of these questions is yes, time is important. Get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying,” added Dr Agarawal.


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Some warning signs of a stroke include weakness in an arm, hand, or leg; numbness on one side of the body; sudden loss of vision, particularly in one eye; sudden difficulty in speaking; inability to comprehend; dizziness or loss of balance; and sudden, lasting, and excruciating headache.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Stroke is one of major public health concerns worldwide, with the burden in India increasing at an alarming rate over the past few decades. There is an urgent need to address this condition and this can only be done through more effective public education among all demographic groups.”