Tag Archive | "stroke"

Protecting Yourself From The Killer Stroke

Stroke is also known as cardiovascular accident. It involves loss of brain functions due to a disturbance in the supply of blood to the brain. It may be caused by a blockage in the artery supplying blood to the brain or by bleeding disorders that involves the brain.

How deadly is it? Surprisingly, stroke is the second leading cause of death around the world. 40% of the total people who get affected will experience severe to moderate impairments in body functions and will require special care while 15% may die shortly afterwards.

What are the risk factors?

  • Smoking
  • Gender – Stroke is more common in men than women. Although women account for more than 61 percent of deaths from stroke.
  • Age – Your risk of experiencing stroke doubles if you are 55 years of age or above.
  • High blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels – This is the second leading cause of stroke but it is controllable and can be treated.
  • Diabetes – Persons with diabetes may also have high blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. These will increase their risk of having stroke.
  • Arrythmias or irregular heartbeat. In heart rhythm disorders, the upper chambers of the heart shake rapidly instead of beating regularly. This causes the blood to clot or pool. Blood clots can enter the bloodstream and can block the artery going to the brain.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Sudden numbness of the face, arms and legs, weakness and partial or complete loss of voluntary movement
  • Confusion or slurring of speech
  • Blurring of vision
  • Loss of balance when walking or standing, loss of coordination
  • Severe headache with unknown cause

How is stroke treated?

A tissue plasminogen activator should be administered 4 to 6 hours after symptoms of stroke are detected. Blood thinners such as heparin and aspirin are given to dissolve clots. In severe cases, a surgical procedure may be indicated. These treatments can improve the outcome of stroke and prevents it from reoccurring.

How can we prevent it?

Prevention is centered at the underlying causes and risk factors such as maintaining a normal blood pressure and blood sugar level, lowering blood cholesterol levels and quitting smoking. Post-stroke patients are given blood thinners to prevent subsequent strokes.

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Salt Addiction: Why It’s Time to Shake the Shaker Habit

We don’t often realize that as much as salt is addictive, it is also fattening, and worst, it is fatal. If you enjoy pouring too much salt on your fries, steak and anything else on your plate, you may be at risk for some serious health conditions.

People have been told over time that a diet that is high in salt gives way to soaring blood pressure, which then makes heart attacks and strokes even more likely. So, we know that this staple condiment has adverse effects on our cardiovascular system. But recent studies have discovered that it is far more fatal than we had assumed it to be. Apparently, salt is an active culprit behind cancer, osteoporosis, dementia and an annoyingly fat belly.

Because of the shocking findings of these new studies, the health department of the United States is now looking into changes in its guidelines for safe sodium intake. Here’s the new recommendation: 2/3 of a teaspoon or 1,500 mg only per day. The old limit was just less than 2,300 milligrams.

What does this mean? The implications for the adjustment are obvious: folks in America are clearly consuming way too much salt, almost twice the recommended limits. And how exactly do they consume almost 3,500 mg every day? Well, it definitely isn’t the white powdery condiment that’s in shakers on the table. It’s actually the salt that’s already incorporated in foods that are ready to eat. Take packaged and processed foods, for instance. Salt is applied liberally to these food items to ensure non-spoilage, and to enhance colour, texture and flavour. Almost eighty percent of sodium is actually found in ready-to-use pasta sauces, microwavable dinners, cookies, instant soups and cereals, crackers and canned goods. Let’s not even get started on the salt in restaurant and fast food meals.

How exactly does a seemingly simple condiment with absolutely no calories be a major contributor to weight gain and serious health conditions? How can you fight sodium, shaker or hidden, from causing your health some serious bitterness? Read on.

Salt really is addictive – and its not just a matter of preference. The human body actually needs the right amount of salt in order to function optimally. Nerves, muscles and vital organs require salt to work, but they only need 500mg every day, and nothing more. This explains why habitual salt overload in the diet actually alters brain function.

Here’s how salt affects moods and addiction. When people consume salt, dopamine is released. Dopamine is a hormone that is closely linked to the pleasure center of the brain. If salt induces dopamine, the body will look for this pleasure all the time, making a person crave salt, because it unknowingly makes him or her feel good. The more salt one eats, the more he or she craves for salt. You don’t even have to swallow what’s in the salt shaker to feel that pleasure – salt exists in fries, burgers, chips, you name it. This addiction can be likened to alcohol or even nicotine.

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Strokes: What Women Should Know

Here’s an eye opener for women: Incidences of stroke (cardiovascular accident) in middle-aged women have tripled since the late 1980s. A team of researchers led by Amy Towfighi, MD, at the USC have recently found that American women in particular, like men, have become more prone to belly fat gain, a true sign of increased risk for cardiovascular health problems. What is even more a reason for concern is that women have poorer prognosis compared to men after a stroke has occurred. They experience worse and longer disabilities, and have higher risks for death. Dr. Towfighi believes in the power of education and knowledge in helping women understand the risk factors as well as the signs of stroke, and ways to minimize if not totally prevent these.

 The sad truth: Women are not aware that they are at risk.

 There are several risk factors that can make women more likely to experience a stroke. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), high blood pressure, and overweight or obesity are just some of the most common risk factors. However, diabetes mellitus, a common condition affecting women beyond the age of 45, can also increase the risks. All these conditions have something to do with how calories are retained in the body and what excess fats can do.

However, even migraine headaches are apparently a risk factor as well. The ones that are preceded by an aura (a disturbance in any of the senses – visual, auditory or taste) are particularly a cause for concern because they are seriously linked to stroke in women below or above the age of 40. 

Women who use oral contraceptives (pills) are also at an increased risk for cardiovascular accident and high blood pressure.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, consuming alcohol and even dietary preferences are preventable risk factors. The risks worsen when all these factors are present.

If you have or experience any of the above-mentioned factors, you will need to discuss this with your doctor. Tests may be performed in order to determine your exact risks, and he or she will help you find ways on how to reduce your risks of developing stroke. 

 Every woman will show different symptoms of stroke or cardiovascular disease.

 A stroke is much like a heart attack, except the accident occurs in the brain, thus the damage is often worse. A woman who is experiencing stroke will present with symptoms such as facial or limb pain or numbness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, hiccups, dimming vision or complete loss of it. Symptoms may vary from woman to woman, but the most common signs of stroke are sudden numbness or paralysis of one side of the face and body, and vision loss.

Because these symptoms may often be linked to other conditions, people and those around them do not typically feel the need to rush to the ER. What’s even sadder is that these symptoms may be missed by the doctor, and the diagnosis of stroke may not be made. This wastes time and by the time a correct diagnosis of stroke is released, it may be too late and the damage may be irreversible.

Therefore, whether you are a man or a woman, it helps to always be updated on your current cardiovascular health. If you are at risk for cardiovascular diseases, any of the symptoms above should be enough reason to go to the ER and tell the doctors as soon as you get there. In cases of stroke and heart attacks, the quicker the intervention, the better the prognosis and recovery.

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Get That Good Cholesterol

We always hear that cholesterol is bad for the body and we should avoid it at all cost. But what most of us don’t know is that not all type of cholesterol is bad. As a matter of fact, cholesterol is needed by the body to be healthy too.

Good cholesterol or high density lipoprotein (HDL) is much needed by the body to perform its functions. When a person has increased level of good cholesterol, he is at lesser risk of having cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Good cholesterol also fights bad cholesterol in the body which is the main culprit for most diseases.

In order to be healthy, we must always include foods that are rich in good cholesterol in our meals. Here are some of the foods where we can get good cholesterol.

  • Oatmeal

Foods that are rich in fiber are also rich in good cholesterol. The fiber in oatmeal acts like little sponges that wipe away bad cholesterol deposits in the arteries paving way for a healthier cardiovascular system.

  • Salmon and Tuna

Deep sea fishes particularly salmon and tuna are good sources of Omega 3 which is healthy oil that is a good source of good cholesterol. In fact most cardiologists recommend eating two meals with these varieties of fish every week is enough to raise the good cholesterol in the blood stream.

  • Walnuts, Peanuts, and Almonds

All kinds nuts are actually good sources of good cholesterol. The polyunsaturated fat content of these nuts are good in preventing heart diseases from haunting the body.

  • Apples

The saying that an apple a day takes the doctor away holds true. Apples contain pectin, a compound needed to lower levels of triglycerides in the body thus preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular disorders.

  • Brown Rice

Brown rice is a very healthy carbohydrate. It is rich in soluble fiber that specifically functions in raising good cholesterol in the body. Brown rice is actually recommended to be eaten by those who have heart conditions because of its health benefits.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil especially is healthy oil known to lower bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol in the body. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants needed to eliminate toxins and free radicals that cause diseases.

  • Garlic

Garlic is good for persons who have heart conditions as it helps lower blood pressure. This herb also contains compounds that help lower blood cholesterol.

These foods are proven to help increase the number of good cholesterol in the body. Eating these foods, together with exercise, and healthy lifestyle will surely help the body be healthy and free of diseases.

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The Deadly Combination of Smoking and Women

Cigarette smoking is dangerous to our health. That phrase may sound like a cliché but is true. Smoking really is bad for the health especially for women. Gone were the days wherein smoking was known to be for men only. Today there are a lot of women that smokes just like what men do.

Smoking does not do anything good for the health of both sexes. But it can actually be more of a threat to women as compared to men. Here are some of the reasons why women and smoking prove to be a deadly combination:

  • Women smokers are more prone to acquire lung cancer as compared to men. This is specifically true because anatomically females have smaller lungs. This makes the lungs of the woman at more risk to acquire toxins and harmful chemicals brought about by cigarette smoking that later on leads to lung cancer. There have been studies that suggest that women are more likely to develop lung cancer by big chance of 12% as compared to men.
  • Women smokers who are also using oral contraceptive pills as birth control have higher chances of having cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension leading to heart attacks and stroke.
  • Women smokers who are above 35 years old and those who are on their menopausal stage have greater chances of having blood clots and other diseases of the heart as compared to women who doesn’t smoke.
  • Women smokers should stop smoking especially if they are pregnant. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals that can harm the baby inside of the mother. Failure to stop smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby causing birth defects. There even studies that suggest the link of cigarette smoking and miscarriage.
  • Women smokers have lesser fertility rate as compared to women who don’t smoke. Research has proven that women smokers have harder time conceiving. Most of them wait for one year before they can get pregnant.
  • Women smokers have higher risk of acquiring the condition called osteoporosis making the woman more prone to having fractures. Nicotine and other harmful substances present in cigarettes leads to the loss of bone density thus increasing the chances of osteoporosis.
  • Women smokers are at risk for having regular menstrual periods. Smoking can interfere with normal production of hormones in women causing irregular menstruations.
  • Women smokers are also at risk for developing cervical and uterine cancers because cigarette smoke can disrupt the normal activity of the female’s reproductive tract. Smoking risks a woman to acquire these cancers.

There are a lot of untoward side effects associated with cigarette smoking and women. For lady smokers, it is better to stop now before it can lead to serious medical conditions that can be fatal if not managed well.

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