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Facial muscles feeling numb? Don't ignore it, say doctors

Noida: Days after actor Mithun Chakraborty suffered an ischemic cerebrovascular stroke, doctors said numbness in facial muscles, a sudden weakness in arms and difficulty in speech could count as warning signs. The condition, they explained, is the result of a clot in the arteries, disrupting blood flow to the brain.

The doctors said they were increasingly getting cases of stroke because of a rise in sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food patterns and increasing stress in their professional and family lives among people even in their 30s. Exercise, meditate, eat right, and cultivate a hobby like gardening, the moment you hit 30 years, they suggested.

Dr Sanjay Saxena, senior director of neurology at Vaishali’s Max, “An ischemic stroke occurs when there is a blockage or obstruction in a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain, leading to a lack of blood flow and oxygen to that part of the brain. This blockage is often caused by a blood clot or plaque buildup within the blood vessels. Treatment for ischemic stroke often involves emergency administration of clot-busting medications within a short window, such as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) or mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure to remove the clot from the blocked artery.”

Additionally, medications are also prescribed to help prevent future strokes and to address underlying risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiac conditions.

“Immediate medical attention is crucial for anyone experiencing symptoms of a stroke as prompt treatment in the golden-time window can help minimise brain damage and improve outcomes,” said Dr Sonia Lal Gupta, a senior neurologist at Metro Group. Symptoms of ischemic stroke typically manifest suddenly and may include weakness in arms, facial asymmetry, problem in speech, confusion, vision problems, such as blurry vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination, severe headache with no known cause, and difficulty walking, she added.

The doctors said in cities, like Noida and Delhi, where people find little time to exercise as they juggle between work, traffic and family, and even the youth were vulnerable to brain stroke. Walking for 30 minutes a day is crucial, they said.

Preventing ischemic stroke involves managing risk factors such as controlling high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise.

While overuse of alcohol, drug abuse and smoking, too, can up the risk of stroke and cardiac arrest, doctors say social media is also a culprit as one simply sits and gazes at the screen for hours.

Research in the field suggests the burden of stroke is increasing in India and, currently, it is the fourth leading cause of death and the fifth leading cause of disability, said doctors.