Less than one in four Indians aware brain stroke symptoms: Survey

Only 41% of respondents consider brain stroke a cause of concern. Just 23% of respondents were aware about risk factors of brain stroke

New Delhi: Boehringer Ingelheim India, a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, has released the findings of India’s first consumer survey on brain stroke titled – The State of Stroke: A Survey On Awareness About Stroke In Urban India, ahead of World Brain Day, 2022.
The survey was commissioned by Boehringer Ingelheim India and conducted by IPSOS, a global leader in market research.
Brain stroke is the second most common cause of death after coronary artery disease (CAD) in India. According to the Indian Stroke Association, approximately 1.8 million people in India suffer from brain stroke, whileLancet Global Health, in 2019 states that7.4% of the total deaths in the country were due to brain stroke. Between 1996-2019, there has been a 100 percent increase in stroke cases in the country. A major cause for this increase is the lack of awareness around the disease, its prevention, and treatment. Boehringer Ingelheim India commissioned a national survey that brought to the fore, the ‘lack of awareness around brain stroke’ in the country.
The survey, conducted by IPSOS with a sample size of 4742, across 12 cities in India revealed that only 22% of the respondents were aware of the risk factors and symptoms of brain stroke, and the awareness levels further drop to just 10% with respect to the treatment options.
The findings of this survey pointed to lower awareness levels of disease condition, particularly in smaller towns and lower socio-economic class:
  • 71% of the respondents from metros were aware of the disease in comparison to only 48% in mini metros
  • Compared to the National average of 70% ~ only 1/3rd of the respondents in the city of Pune, Chandigarh and Lucknow recalled awareness of the term brain stroke with respondents from the East being the most aware
  • Brain stroke literacy on FAST (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time) symptoms was uniformly low across geographies
  • Only 2% of respondents from mini metros knew all 3 symptoms of brain stroke compared to 12% of respondents from Metros
According to Lancet Global Health, stroke incidences in females (656,900) were higher than males (634,300) in 2019. Despite the disparity in prevalence amongst genders, ‘The State Of Stroke’ survey found.
  • Only 68% females were aware of the term brain stroke in comparison to 71% males
  • As compared to 24% males, only 20% females were aware of the brain stroke symptoms
  • Only 8% female respondents were aware of diagnostic procedures and treatment options for stroke vs 13% and 11% males for diagnostic procedures and treatment options respectively
“The report is a clarion call to improve access to quality stroke care services in India. Time saved is brain saved and considering only 20% were aware of risk factors in the cities surveyed, we need a massive awareness campaign to help families and patients identify stroke and reach hospitals on time. The patients group Stroke Support Alliance calls for all stakeholders to come together and save every stroke patient that can be saved,” said Dr Ratna Devi, CEO and Co-founder, DakshamA Health and Education.
“The number of stroke cases in India has increased over the past few years. Greater awareness around the disease, its symptoms, risk factors and treatment will be the need of the hour as improved knowledge of stroke will not only help people identify the condition but will also help save lives. On the occasion of ‘World Brain Day’, this survey by Boehringer Ingelheim serves as a step in the right direction, making more people aware of the impact of stroke on their lives. And remember, relatives brain used in time is equal to a patient’s brain saved in time,” said Dr. Shirish Hastak, Regional Director, Neurology and Stroke, Global Hospital, Mumbai.
Dr. Shraddha Bhure, Medical Director, Boehringer Ingelheim India, said “Brain stroke is a serious medical emergency which could result in devastating disabilities. In a country like India, where its incidences are on the rise, addressing an episode of brain stroke in a timely manner can go a long way. Boehringer Ingelheim endeavors to raise awareness around this serious condition and emphasize the need for prompt response in the event of a stroke. In that context, our website’s – strokeofsupport.com – special feature helping people find the nearest stroke ready center is in response to this need.”
To address the awareness gap, Boehringer Ingelheim India launched a website – strokeofsupport.com. The dedicated website is an online stroke support and information portal designed to help both patients and caregivers. One of the key features of the website is to find the nearest Stroke ready center by pin code.  A stroke ready center is a hospital with 24/7 rapid diagnostic procedures like CT scans and a dedicated stroke response team, equipped to provide emergency stroke care.