Saturated Fat consumption and the APOA2 gene
December 27, 2016
A genetic explanation for why people have different taste preferences
December 30, 2016

World Stroke Day 2016 “Face the Facts: Stroke is Treatable”

According to World Health Organization, an estimated 17 million people suffered from stroke in 2010 and 33 million survived after a stroke. In India, its estimated that about 334-424 people out of 100,000 in urban areas and about 84-262 out of 100,000 people in rural areas suffer from stroke. These are alarming figures for an alarming medical condition. The high incidence of stroke and its debilitating effects can be mitigated by increased awareness of preventive and preemptive options available to individuals and families who carry the various risk factors associated with stroke. What better occasion than World Stroke Day 2016 to learn and take preventive action against stroke!

Stroke is a condition in which the blood supply to the brain is blocked, resulting in lack of oxygen to the brain cells and, finally, death of brain cells. Stroke can lead to partial or complete paralysis or even death. In India, the highest fatality, 42%, from stroke is seen in Kolkatta. In the U.S, stroke is the 5th leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability.

 

Type of stroke:


There are three types of strokes, classified based on the type of disruption and the extent of disruption in blood supply to the brain:

Image credits: www.fescenter.org/

Image credits: www.fescenter.org/

  • Hemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke occurs when there is a break in a blood vessel leading to spillage of blood into the brain.
  • Ischemic stroke: This type of stroke occurs when a blood clot leads to stoppage of blood supply and hence oxygen supply to the brain.
  • Transient Ischemic attacks: This type of stroke may occur when a temporary disruption occurs in the blood supply to the brain.

Stroke can lead to a loss of motor function and this is largely due to a lack of awareness about

The theme for this year’s World Stroke Day 2016, “Face the Facts: Stroke is Treatable” aims to highlight the existence of treatment options for stroke. This theme is an attempt to focus attention on the need to identify early symptoms and take appropriate and timely action.

 

Genetic Risk associated with Stroke: The ApoE gene mutation


The ApoE gene mutation was found to be associated with increased levels of cholesterol, LDL and ischemic heart disease. It has also been shown to be significantly associated with stroke . Specifically, the ApoE gene mutation was shown to be associated with carotid intima media thickness, which is known to be associated with ischemic stroke.

Many vascular conditions are driven by an interplay between genetic factors and environmental factors. Hence, there has been a surge in circulation-related problems coincident with a surge in consumption of high calorific food and increase in sedentarity. Genetic risk factors, such as the  ApoE gene mutation appear to play a significant role in the disease pathogenesis of stroke. Testing for this gene mutation may help in identifying a risk factor and take preemptive action by limiting other risk factors and seeking early medical advice to lower the risk of occurrence of stroke.

 

Other risk factors for stroke include:


  1. Heart diseases
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Dyslipidemia
  4. Smoking

These factors may be modified to reduce the risk associated with the ApoE gene mutation. In most instances, the severity of stroke can be controlled when the patient is provided with emergency medical support, which would require detection of early warning signs of stroke.

 

Early Warning Signs of Stroke:


  • Paralysis of the face: The person may be unable to move certain or all muscles on the face. It is exhibited more as numbness rather than any form of twitching.
  • Vision loss: There may be sudden loss of vision that could occur in both the eyes or in one eye.
  • Slurring of speech: This is a significant sign of a stroke when the speech of the individual becomes incoherent due to paralysis of a part of the face.
  • Test by raising hands– The individual who is suspected to be suffering from stroke should be asked to raise both hands. An inability to raise both the hands fully or even one could be a sign of stroke.

 

Treatment of Stroke


There are treatment options available for stroke which many people in India are unaware of or do not have access to. This include:

  1. Dissolving the clot with drugs: Drugs meant to dissolve the clot in the brain and to restore blood supply to the brain are administered to the patient.  To be effective, these drugs are administered within four and a half hours of an ischemic stroke.
  2. Removing the clot mechanically: A thrombectomy or mechanical removal of the clot may be carried out to remove the clot.
  3. Psychological counselling: The increased dependency of a stroke victim for routine activities could diminish the spirit of a stroke victim, psychological counselling will help such individuals. Mechanical aids to enhance mobility are available that could make the patients relatively independent- depending upon the extent of the stroke.
  4. Physiotherapy: Rehabilitation in the form of physiotherapy is essential to aid the patient in being as independent as is possible.

 

A genetic risk is an indicator of risk and does not signify poor prognosis. An individual can use the indication of risk to make changes in lifestyle that can significantly reduce the chances of stroke. Moreover, there is a 1 in 10 chance of a stroke re-occuring in a stroke survivor, which makes preventive screening important.

A person with a high risk factor for stroke should quit smoking, stay active, eat a well-balanced diet, stay away from alcohol and let family and friends know about the risk involved and to keep a watch for warning signs and symptoms.

The test for ApoE gene mutation is a simple and non-invasive procedure that could act as a preventive screening tool to inform an individual about genetic risk and to prompt necessary changes in diet and lifestyle. Early knowledge of risk factors can help in mitigating it significantly.

 

If you would like to test for the ApoE mutation, test with the best at XCode.in. For further details mail info@xcode.in .

 

 

Amrita Surendranath
Amrita Surendranath
Amrita has a Masters in Human Genetics which fuelled her passion for genes and their diktats. She loves converting genetic research into exciting scientific news with a punch. 10 years on, her interesting insights have covered a range of topics that include cancer, diabetes, nutrition, fitness and more. A pulse on what’s interesting aids in decoding laboratory data into useful science that could empower people into molding healthier lifestyles.