Furthermore, mobile apps can play a notable role in encouraging healthier behaviours and lifestyle adjustments. For example, apps dedicated to nutrition and physical activity can aid individuals in adopting and sustaining changes to their lifestyles that substantially lower the risk of stroke.

Wearable devices for monitoring stroke risk factors

The adoption of wearable technology is rapidly increasing in India. India is likely to become the world’s largest market for wearables by the end of 2023. Wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers have gained popularity as they offer a convenient way to track and monitor various health parameters that can help manage stroke risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, and irregular heart rhythms.

Several wearable devices have introduced features like monitoring heart rate irregularities, detecting atrial fibrillation (a common cause of stroke), and prompting users to seek medical attention when necessary. These devices can continuously monitor vital signs, providing users with real-time data and early warnings, helping them take proactive steps to reduce their stroke risk.

Some devices can even alert users about potentially dangerous changes in heart rate or rhythms, which can be crucial for early detection and intervention.

Telemedicine & its role in post-stroke care

Telemedicine has become an invaluable resource in the realm of post-stroke care. In India, where access to healthcare services can be challenging in remote areas, telemedicine bridges the gap. After a stroke, timely and specialised care is essential for a patient’s recovery and for reducing the risk of subsequent strokes.

Telemedicine allows stroke survivors to consult with neurologists and rehabilitation specialists from the comfort of their homes. This service provides ongoing guidance, monitoring medication usage, and offering recommendations for physical therapy. Moreover, telemedicine offers caregivers the information and tools required to support their loved ones on their recovery journey.

Online communities & resources for stroke prevention & support

The digital age has brought about a plethora of online communities and resources dedicated to stroke prevention and support. Websites like StrokeIndia and World Stroke Organization and forums are empowering individuals to learn about stroke prevention. Awareness initiatives like Stroke of Support can also help locate a nearby stroke care centre — a hospital with 24/7 rapid diagnostic procedures like CT scans, MRI facilities and a dedicated stroke response team, equipped to provide emergency stroke care. This is important as arriving at a stroke-ready centre within the “golden period” of 4.5 hours can increase the chances of surviving and avoiding long-term brain damage.

Additionally, Facebook groups and Twitter/X hashtags have created a sense of community among stroke survivors and caregivers, allowing them to share their stories, seek advice, and offer emotional support. Some organisations like Patients Engage provide valuable communities like the Stroke Rehab and Recovery community, dedicated to offering support and resources for stroke survivors on their journey to rehabilitation and recovery.

Integrating technology into healthcare can enable stroke prevention on an individual level. However, it’s important to remember that technology is most effective when used in conjunction with regular medical check-ups and consultations with healthcare professionals. A holistic approach that combines both traditional healthcare and technology-driven solutions can offer the best results in stroke prevention.

(The author is an interventional neurologist.)

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