Mrunal Manmay Dash

Saraswati Rout, a resident of Gadasrirampur in Cuttack fell unconscious while cutting vegetables in kitchen six years back. Doctors diagnosed it as a brain stroke induced by high blood pressure. One side of her body was paralysed and, since then, she is completely bedridden.

This is just an example and does not actually portray the alarming situation the people of Odisha, and the residents of Cuttack in particular, are in.

A latest study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revealed that Cuttack reports the maximum instances of brain stroke cases among cities in India.

As per the study, Cuttack district registers 187 brain stroke cases per 1 lakh population in a year. Similarly, 217 males out of every 1 lakh male population suffer the disease in a year. And as far as the females are concerned, the number stands at 156.

The study ‘Stroke Incidence and Mortality: A Report of the Population based Stroke Registries, India, which was released on Wednesday, was conducted by the National Centre for Disease Informatics & Research (NCDIR) in ICMR’s Bengaluru unit.

It was conducted to address the nationwide gap in data on stroke instances among adults in India. A population based stroke registry was set up in five different regions of the country, such as North-Varanasi, West-Kota, East-Cuttack, South-Tirunelveli.

SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack district of Odisha, Silchar Medical College and Hospital in Cachar district of Assam, Tirunelveli Medical College in Tamil Nadu, Government Medical College in Kota of Rajasthan and Institute of Medical Sciences along with Banaras Hindu University (BHU) from Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh were part of the study.

The only relief for Cuttack is that while the number of cases are high, the mortality rate is on the lower side. Varanasi tops the chart with 46 brain stroke deaths out of every 1 lakh population. Cachar comes second with 39.9 deaths while Cuttack remains at third position with 31 deaths per 1 lakh population.

The gravity of the situation is evident after the experts raised an alarm. “If the data is correct, then the situation in Cuttack is definitely not good. The stroke patients are continuously rising in Cuttack, which is worrisome,” said Dr Ashok Mallick, HOD of Neurology in SCB Medical College and Hospital.

Similarly Dr Ashok Mohapatra, former Director of AIIMS Bhubaneswar said, “We should make a strategy to go to the root of this disease and prevent it there. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and tobacco are some of the major causes of brain stoke. There are people who do not adhere to treatment even after diagnosis of diabetes.

This is particularly alarming given the fact that brain stroke is the second largest killer in the world after heart attack.