What Is A Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced. The lack of oxygen carrying blood causes the death of brain cells in mere minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency and immediate treatment is mandatory. Early treatment may reduce brain damage and increase your chance of survival.
Who Is Vulnerable?
Anyone can have a stroke. Never think that because you are young or at a perfect weight that you are safe from this destroyer.
Symptoms You May Experience
1-Trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying to you.
2-Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. This often affects only one side of your body.
3-Problems seeing in one or both eyes. You may have reduced vision or you may see double.
4-Headache- A sudden severe headache that may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness may indicate you are having a stroke.
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke.
If you think someone else is having a stroke remember the acronyme “F.A.S.T” and do this:
F.ace-Ask the person to smile. Does one side if the face droop?
A.rms-Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is one arm unable to rise?
S.peech-Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his speech slurred or strange?
T.ime-If you observe ANY of these signs, call 911 right away.
There are five different types of stroke but the end result of all of them is death of brain cells. Quick medical attention may limit the number of brain cells lost.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
1-Being overweight or obese
3-Heavy or binge drinking
4-Use of illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine
Here at David’s Way we teach a healthy lifestyle that is designed to alleviate overweight and physical inactivity. We always discourage you from drinking alcohol because of the empty calories and the tendency that it has to lower inhibitions and enable you to binge eat and drink after just a small amount. Illegal drugs are never part of a healthy lifestyle.
Medical Risk Factors
1-High blood pressure
2-Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
5-Obstructive sleep apnea
7-Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack
David’s Way is diabetic friendly and since we discourage sodium laden processed foods, it may help you with high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by excess tissue, quite often fat, pressing in on your airway. Lose the weight and see if that helps your sleep apnea. Excess weight and inactivity can exacerbate cardiovascular disease and make it worse. If you have a personal history of, or genetic tendency towards, stroke talk to your doctor about weight loss and exercise.
People over age 55 have a higher risk of stroke. Get healthy early in life and practice good health habits for the rest of your life to take the edge off of this risk factor. Men, African Americans and women who use birth control or hormone therapies that contain estrogen are also at greater risk.
In order to decrease your risk of stroke it’s mandatory that you control high blood pressure and lower the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Quit smoking and get your diabetes under control. Some people can eventually come off of diabetic medications, with their doctor’s approval, when they lose weight and become attentive to their diet, while adding in some doctor approved activity. If you have sleep apnea, do whatever you have to do to fix that. Weight loss will help. Your doctor may prescribe a device that delivers positive airway pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that can help with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
We always encourage you to be proactive concerning your health. Be vigilant in your efforts to decrease your risk of stroke. I recently read about a 38 year old female who was an avid runner who had a devastating stroke. She had always been careful to eat a healthy diet to fuel her running but at a point, she said that she let her nutrition slip, a little. She believed that this decision was crucial to the devastating event that changed her life forever, a stroke. She has made a good recovery and her former high level of fitness is believed to have enabled her to come back much quicker and stronger than most people. The moral of the story here is get healthy and STAY healthy. Don’t give a stroke a chance. Be a fanatic about your health. Don’t let anyone sway you. Make every effort to avoid this life stealing thief in the night.
As a result of trying to be healthy to avoid a stroke, you just might build the healthiest body that you’ve ever lived in, and look good doing it. That, my friends, is a win/win situation.