Friday, May 19, 2017

How to Prevent a Stroke

You don't need to fall victim to this silent killer.

What is a stroke? A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or it ruptures. "When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, and this kills brain cells," according to the Stroke Association. When this happens, the body can't function since the brain controls the body. Having a stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, which could lead to impaired vision and a loss of mobility. After a stroke, people may also experience paralysis on the right side of the body or on the left side of the body. Speech and language problems, slow, cautious behavioral style and severe memory loss could also happen, the organization reported. The effects of a stroke are dramatic and it can alter your life forever. Here is what you can do to prevent a stroke in the future.

Watch Your Blood Pressure

About 85 million Americans have high blood pressure, a condition where the blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Anyone, including children, can develop high blood pressure. To prevent a stroke you need to keep an eye on this. High blood pressure is a huge factor, doubling or even quadrupling your stroke risk if it is not controlled. "High blood pressure is the biggest contributor to the risk of stroke in both men and women," Harvard Health reported. "Monitoring blood pressure and, if it is elevated, treating it, is probably the biggest difference women can make to their vascular health." Cut down on stress, salt, caffeine and eat better. Also, aim to eat more vegetables every day, 1 serving of fish weekly, and several daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy.


Obesity puts you at a higher risk of a stroke. Start an exercise regimen and exercise regularly because it's one of the most important things an individual can do. Exercise also relaxes the arteries, it lowers level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisone. Losing weight can reduce blood sugar, raise good HDL cholesterol, prevent abnormal heart rhythms, lessen the possibility of heart attacks and strokes, lower risk of obesity and related cancers, and can improve bone density. Kerry J. Stewart, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine stated: “People who become active have a greater sense of self-confidence. But exercise also improves the working efficiency of your heart, lungs and muscles." She shared that exercise improves the fuel efficiency of the body and will help you feel more refreshed.

Quit Smoking

If you want to lower the risk for having a stroke, quit smoking. According to the Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention smoking does the following: Raise triglycerides, Lower "good" cholesterol (HDL), Make blood sticky and more likely to clot, which can block blood flow to the heart and brain and damages cells that line the blood vessels. Smoking causes these chemical changes. "If a clot forms in an artery leading to the brain, it can then cause a blockage, cutting off the blood supply and causing a stroke. This type of stroke is known as an ischaemic stroke. Smoking nearly doubles your risk of having an ischemic stroke," reported.

Don't Drink Diet Soda

The American Stroke Association noted that you need to stop drinking diet soda as this also puts you at risk for a stroke and even dementia. A study found that drinking diet soda is not the optimal substitute. "I was surprised that sugary beverage intake was not associated with either the risks of stroke or dementia because sugary beverages are known to be unhealthy," Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine explained to CNN. Is it better to drink regular soda instead of soda with artificial sweeteners? "Dementia is rare in people under the age of 60 and so we focused only on those aged over 60 years for dementia. Similarly, stroke is rare in people aged under 45 and so we focused on people older than age 45 for stroke," he added. If you love soda drink it in moderation or drink vitamin water. Also, try drinking the recommended 4-5 glasses of water daily to help keep your body running at its optimal level and to flush out toxins.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Sugar comes in soups, cereals, loaves of bread and other food products and we can't avoid it. But maybe you should! A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association linked sugar to a greater risk of having a stroke. American on average consume 104 grams of sugar per day, but the American Heart Association recommended limiting sugars to 25 grams per day," Dr. Marie Savard, a medical contributor "Good Morning America" said. Sugar also damages the brain. Refined sugar stimulates inflammatory messengers called cytokines in the brain that may cause depression. WebMD suggested to lower your intake in beverages, this includes artificial sweeteners. Sugar stifles the brain growth hormone called BDNF, a protein in humans. If too low, it can lead to depression and other disorders. Sugar can be a real killer, so why overindulge in it. Use it in moderation to avoid possible health issues.
Yo can reduce your fears and risks of getting a stroke by taking better care of yourself by exercising, not smoking, lowering stress and losing weight. If you have questions, see your doctor about your risks and what you can do because you could never have enough knowledge.

Health Benefits of Walking

Study Says Brisk Walking Increases Brain Function and May Prevent Dementia

Dementia may not have a cure yet, but experts have found a way to hold off its effects on the human brain. A study suggested that moderate-intensity walking or "brisk walking" may do wonders for the brain's health.

According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia and published at the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a steady pace in brisk walking reduces the effects of brain deterioration linked to poor blood vessel health, Reuters reported.

The study observed 38 people with vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) or vascular dementia. The participants were divided into two groups, with one group consisting of people with VCI who walked at least three hours per week for six months straight. The other group was composed of people who received their usual care for VCI.

At the end of the study, those who did the moderate exercise showed significant improvement in their brain's health and function while the other group had no improvements.

According to the Mayo Clinic, vascular dementia pertains to a person's difficulty in reasoning, making judgment, and other thought process caused by poor blood flow to the brain, which gets damaged as a result.

While a stroke does not necessarily lead to vascular dementia, a person may still develop it after suffering from a stroke.

The research's senior author Teresa Liu-Ambrose of the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab of the university said in an email that consistent "aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health."

That is why regular brisk walking, an aerobic type of exercise, can benefit people who engage in it.

"More specifically, it reduces one's risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type II), and high cholesterol," said Ambrose.

The researcher explained that the diseases mentioned "have a negative impact on the brain – likely through compromised blood flow to the brain."

It is essential that the brain receives good blood flow that brings oxygen and nutrients needed for its function.

However, because the number of people the group observed is relatively small, a doctor from the Montefiore Medical Center in New York expressed caution for people to exercise wisdom in analyzing the results.

"Given the small sample size, one needs to be cautious about interpreting the results of this pilot study," said Dr. Joe Verghese of the Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain. "However, it is encouraging to see that the six-month aerobic exercise program improved certain aspects of cognition and showed changes on functional brain imaging."

He added that should the study be replicated in a larger scope, it can prove significant and "may have implications in advising exercise in older patients with vascular risk factors for brain protection."

According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia and published at the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a steady pace in brisk walking reduces the effects of brain deterioration linked to poor blood vessel health.