Pulwama: Scores of residents, patients, and members of the economically marginal Gujjar community gathered under a small canopy erected in front of Prasad Joo Khan Memorial Heart Centre on Thursday morning at Somnolent Hall village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
They were all ears as renowned cardiologist Dr Upendra Koul held a microphone and began to speak to generate awareness about the prevention of strokes.
“We need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise daily to keep the strokes and heart diseases at bay,” Dr Koul said.
The programme was organised by the Gauri Kaul Foundation to mark World Stroke Day, which is being observed on November 29.
In rural villages like Hall, which was once home to dozens of elite Kashmiri Pandit families, such awareness programmes are quite infrequent, resulting in a lack of knowledge about the prevention of life-taking events like stroke.
In his address, Dr Koul said that elderly people usually get stroke, but the age was no bar.
“People as young as 35 also suffer stroke,” he said.
Dr Koul said that every year India logs around 2 lakh new stroke patients.
“It is very crucial to recognise the stroke immediately once a patient suffers it,” he said. “An immediate diagnosis can minimise it.”
Dr Koul educated the audience about the acronym FAST (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time) to detect the symptoms of stroke.
He shed light on different types of strokes and tried to make the audience aware of their treatment and prevention.
Dr Koul said that once a patient suffers a stroke, he should be brought to a hospital equipped with a CT scan facility.
“The scan could differentiate between the thrombotic and hemorrhagic stroke,” he said.
Dr Koul also gave a rundown about the risk factors of strokes.
“High blood pressure is one of the major risk factors,” he said.
Dr Koul said that prevention was imperative to contain strokes.
He stressed cutting down the salt intake and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“One should consume more fruits and vegetables to live a healthy life,” Dr Koul said.
He also emphasised the importance of weight control to prevent strokes and other illnesses.
The programme became more interesting as some residents shared their personal experiences.
A middle-aged woman from a neighbouring district shared the experience of how she saved the life of a relative after he suffered a stroke by detecting it quickly.
“Some 20 years ago, I listened to Dr Koul on the radio where he had discussed the symptoms of stroke,” she said.
She said that the programme helped her in saving the life of her relative.
Many participants also asked a host of questions to Dr Koul on the subject.
“We learned a great deal about stroke prevention and treatment,” said a resident.
Senior geriatric consultant Dr Zubair Saleem also addressed the gathering.