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5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by MziziMkavu, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Sep 22, 2011
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    [TD]Few things feel more terrifying and random than a stroke, which can strike without warning. And fear of stroke -- when a blood vessel in or to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot, starving brain cells of and nutrients -- is well founded. After all, stroke is the number-three killer in the U.S., affecting more than 700,000 people each year. Here are five foods that cause the damage that leads to stroke.

    1. Crackers, chips, and store-bought pastries and baked goods
    Muffins, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and many other baked goods are high in trans fats, which are hydrogenated oils popular with commercial bakeries because they stay solid at room temperature, so the products don't require refrigeration. Also listed on labels as "partially hydrogenated" or hydrogenated oils, trans fats are found in all kinds of snack foods, frozen foods, and baked goods, including salad dressings, microwave popcorn, stuffing mixes, frozen tater tots and French fries, cake mixes, and whipped toppings. They're also what makes margarine stay in a solid cube. The worst offenders are fried fast foods such as onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken.

    Why it's bad

    For years scientists have known trans fats are dangerous artery-blockers, upping the concentrations of lipids and bad cholesterol in the blood and lowering good cholesterol. Now we can add stroke to the list of dangers. This year researchers at the University of North Carolina found that women who ate 7 grams of trans fat each day -- about the amount in two doughnuts or half a serving of French fries -- had 30 percent more strokes (the ischemic type, caused by blocked blood flow to the brain) than women who ate just 1 gram a day. Another recent study, also in women, found that trans fats promoted inflammation and higher levels of C-reactive protein, which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

    What to do

    Aim to limit trans fats to no more than 1 or 2 grams a day -- and preferably none. Avoid fast-food French fries and other fried menu items and study packaged food labels closely. Even better, bake your own cookies, cakes, and other snacks. When you can't, search out "health-food" alternative snacks, such as Terra brand potato chips and traditional whole grain crackers such as those made by Finn, Wasa, AkMak, Ryvita, and Lavasch.

    2. Smoked and processed meats

    Whether your weakness is pastrami, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, or a smoked turkey sandwich, the word from the experts is: Watch out.

    Why it's bad

    Smoked and processed meats are nasty contributors to stroke risk in two ways: The preserving processes leave them packed with but even worse are the preservatives used to keep processed meats from going bad. Sodium nitrate and nitrite have been shown by researchers to directly damage blood vessels, causing arteries to harden and narrow. And of course damaged, overly narrow blood vessels are exactly what you don't want if you fear stroke.

    Many studies have linked processed meats to (CAD); one meta-analysis in the journal Circulation calculated a 42-percent increase in coronary for those who eat one serving of processed meat a day. Stroke is not the only concern for salami fans; cancer journals have reported numerous studies in the past few years showing that consumption of cured and smoked meats is linked with increased risk of diabetes and higher incidences of numerous types of cancer, including leukemia.

    What to do

    If a smoked turkey or ham sandwich is your lunch of choice, try to vary your diet, switching to tuna, peanut butter, or other choices several days a week. Or cook turkey and chicken yourself and slice it thin for sandwiches.

    How to Tell if Someone Is Having a Stroke

    3. Diet soda

    Although replacing sugary drinks with diet soda seems like a smart solution for keeping weight down -- a heart-healthy goal -- it turns out diet soda is likely a major bad guy when it comes to stroke.

    Why it's bad

    People who drink a diet soda a day may up their stroke risk by 48 percent. A Columbia University study presented at the American Stroke Association's 2011 International Stroke Conference followed 2,500 people ages 40 and older and found that daily diet soda drinkers had 60 percent more strokes, and coronary artery disease than those who didn't drink diet soda. Researchers don't know exactly how diet soda ups stroke risk -- and are following up with further studies -- but nutritionists are cautioning anyone concerned about stroke to cut out diet soda pop.

    What to do

    Substitute more water for soda in your daily diet. It's the healthiest thirst-quencher by far, researchers say. If you don't like water, try lemonade, iced tea, or juice.

    4. Red meat

    This winter, when the respected journal Stroke published a study showing that women who consumed a large portion of red meat each day had a 42-percent higher incidence of stroke, it got experts talking. The information that red meat, with its high saturated fat content, isn't healthy for those looking to prevent heart disease and stroke wasn't exactly news. But the percentage increase (almost 50 percent!) was both startling and solid; the researchers arrived at their finding after following 35,000 Swedish women for ten years.

    Why it's bad

    Researchers have long known that the saturated fat in red meat raises the risk of stroke and heart disease by gradually clogging arteries with a buildup of protein plaques. Now it turns out that , the ingredient that gives red meat its high content, may pose a specific danger when it comes to stroke. Researchers are investigating whether blood becomes thicker and more viscous as a result of the consumption of so-called heme iron, specifically upping the chance of strokes.

    What to do

    Aim to substitute more poultry -- particularly white meat -- and fish, which are low in heme iron, for red meat. Also, choose the heart-healthiest sources of protein whenever you can, especially beans, legumes, nuts, tofu, and nonfat dairy.

    5. Canned soup and prepared foods

    Whether it's canned soup, canned spaghetti, or healthy-sounding frozen dinners, prepared foods and mixes rely on sodium to increase flavor and make processed foods taste fresher. Canned soup is cited by nutritionists as the worst offender; one can of canned chicken noodle soup contains more than 1,100 mg of sodium, while many other varieties, from clam chowder to simple tomato, have between 450 and 800 mg per serving. Compare that to the American Heart and Stroke Association's recommendation of less than1,500 mg of sodium daily and you'll see the problem. In fact, a nutritionist-led campaign, the National Reduction Initiative, calls on food companies to reduce the salt content in canned soup and other products by 20 percent in the next two years.

    Why it's bad

    Salt, or sodium as it's called on food labels, directly affects stroke risk. In one recent study, people who consumed more than 4,000 mg of sodium daily had more than double the risk of stroke compared to those who ate 2,000 mg or less. Yet the estimate that most Americans eat close to 3,500 mg of sodium per day. Studies show that sodium raises blood pressure, the primary causative factor for stroke. And be warned: Sodium wears many tricky disguises, which allow it to hide in all sorts of foods that we don't necessarily think of as salty. Some common, safe-sounding ingredients that really mean salt:

    • Baking soda
    • Baking powder
    • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
    • Disodium phosphate
    • Sodium alginate
    What to do

    Make your own homemade soups and entrees, then freeze individual serving-sized portions. Buy low-sodium varieties, but read labels carefully, since not all products marked "low sodium" live up to that promise

    source: 5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke

  2. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Sep 22, 2011
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    10 Ways to Prevent a Stroke

    Learn how to reduce your risk of having a stroke.

    By Stephanie Trelogan, Caring.com senior editor

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the number one cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. Over the course of a lifetime, stroke affects an estimated four out of five families. Although these statistics sound dire, take heart: With these strategies, you can help your parents reduce their risk -- and reduce your own at the same time.

    Control blood pressure.

    High blood pressure means a high risk of stroke. If one of your parents has been diagnosed with prehypertension (120/80 to 139/89) or hypertension (140/90 mm Hg or higher), his blood pressure should be treated. The doctor will prescribe the appropriate medications, but your parent's blood pressure needs regular monitoring. Although it can be a bit tricky to use, an inexpensive manual cuff (starting at about $12 at your local drugstore) is a great way to monitor blood pressure at home. But if you can't get the hang of using it, you may want to consider investing in a blood pressure machine, which is a bit more expensive (between $70 and $150); it's also available at your local drugstore.

    Manage stress and depression.

    A parent's emotional and psychological state can have a very real effect on his physical health. Minimizing stress, anger, and depression is an important aspect of maintaining good cardiovascular health and avoiding a stroke. If your parent lives by himself, he may feel disconnected and alone. Even if your parents still have each other, sitting around the house can lead to boredom and unhappiness. Help your parents get out, make new friends, or simply engage in stimulating activities. Their local church or community center is an excellent place to connect with other seniors.
    Perhaps your parent is already a social butterfly but still seems to be having difficulty with his mood. Encourage him to try these stress-busting strategies:

    • Cut back on caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
    • Try meditation or yoga.
    • Play relaxing music.
    • Go for a walk outdoors.
    If you've tried everything and still feel concerned about your parent's mood, talk to his doctor. Depression is a serious but treatable illness.

    Reduce the risk of blood clots.

    Ask your parents' doctor about medications that can reduce their risk of developing blood clots. The most commonly recommended medication is aspirin, which is inexpensive and can be taken at a low dose (81 milligrams is the usual recommended dose). If your parents have other medical issues, the doctor may prescribe a more potent drug.
    Control other medical conditions.

    If your parents have atrial fibrillation (an abnormal rhythm involving the upper two chambers of the heart), diabetes, heart valve disease, or vascular disease, they have a much greater risk of stroke. These medical conditions require careful management. Make sure their doctor knows about any such conditions and is treating them appropriately.
    Talk to the doctor about medications that might increase your parents' risk.

    Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), rosiglitazone (for diabetes), and COX-2 inhibitors (for controlling arthritis pain) are all examples of medications that may increase your parents' risk of stroke. Review their medications with their doctor and ask if there are less risky alternatives.
    Know the early warning signs and seek treatment to prevent a stroke.

    According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one out of three people who have a transient ischemic attack (TIA) will suffer an acute stroke. Signs of a TIA, or ministroke, include:

    • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg -- especially on one side of the body
    • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
    • Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
    • Sudden difficulty walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness
    For more detailed information, see What You Should Know About TIA If Your Parents Are at Risk for a Stroke. If you think your parent has suffered a TIA, notify his doctor right away so that he can be treated.
  3. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Sep 22, 2011
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    Diet, exercise, and smoking

    Page 3 of 10 Ways to Prevent a Stroke

    Keep "bad" cholesterol levels low.

    One of the major risk factors for stroke is a high bloodstream level of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. Ideally, your parent's total cholesterol should be no more than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and no more than five times the level of HDL or "good" cholesterol; his LDL levels should be below 70 mg/dL. Make sure his cholesterol levels are checked regularly and treated if necessary. Following a low-fat diet and exercising regularly may help, but it might not be enough. If his cholesterol levels don't respond to lifestyle changes, his doctor may prescribe medication.
    Follow a heart-healthy diet.

    The best diet for preventing stroke is the one recommended by the American Heart Association. Choose a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.Your parent should limit intake of fat (total fat between 25 and 35 percent of daily calories, saturated fat less than 7 percent, and trans fat less than 1 percent), cholesterol (less than 200 milligrams per day if LDL levels are high, less than 300 milligrams per day if they aren't), and sodium (less than 1,500 milligrams per day for high blood pressure, less than 2,300 milligrams per day otherwise). Your mother should consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day, your father no more than two. And they should each eat 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber every day.
    Encourage regular exercise.

    Exercise is essential for general cardiovascular health and is key to preventing a stroke. But how much exercise is enough? The Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association recommend accumulating at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week on most days. This doesn't mean your parents need to do half an hour of aerobics five days a week; instead, you can encourage short bursts of activity throughout the day. Just parking farther away from the store and walking the extra distance, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can quickly add up. But before your parents begin any exercise program, they should talk to their doctor about any restrictions they might have.
    Help them stop smoking.

    Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke. If your parents or anyone who lives in their home smokes, quitting is essential to good health. Just living with a smoker increases the risk of stroke by almost 30 percent. But recognize that stopping smoking isn't easy. Here are a few ways you can help:

    • Ask your parents what they think would make it easier for them. They may have suggestions you haven't thought of.
    • Encourage them to talk about their feelings and what they're going through. Smoking may be a comforting lifelong habit; let them mourn a little.
    • You may be tempted to nag or yell if they slip up, but it's more effective to remind them that you love them no matter what. Be positive and encouraging -- and vent your frustration to a friend instead.
    • Help them avoid situations that trigger the desire for a smoke. If they're used to enjoying a cigarette after meals, try going for a short walk outside instead.
    • Be understanding as they go through withdrawal symptoms. Try not to take it personally if they're especially irritable, short-tempered, and tired.
    • Quit smoking yourself. If you must smoke, don't smoke around your parents. Not only will it make quitting more difficult for them, but the secondhand smoke will increase their risk of heart attack.
    If your parents find it too difficult to quit on their own, talk to their doctor. Nicotine replacement therapy, support groups, and counseling may all be helpful.
  4. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Sep 22, 2011
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    How to Tell if Someone Is Having a Stroke

    By Stephanie Trelogan, Caring.com senior editor

    Quick summary

    According to the American Heart Association, a stroke occurs every 45 seconds. But there's good news: Even if you or someone you know suffers a stroke, immediate treatment can greatly reduce the damage. For many strokes, treatment with intravenous clot-busting drugs can make a significant difference. The catch? These drugs need to be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. And the sooner treatment starts, the better the outcome.
    To give someone the best possible chance of recovery, you should familiarize yourself with the warning signs of stroke. Remember that not all strokes are the same. Even if a friend or someone in your family has had a stroke before, a second stroke or a stroke in another family member might not have the same symptoms.
    What to do if someone shows signs of having a stroke

    It's common for someone having a stroke to try to downplay the situation because he's embarrassed and doesn't want to cause a scene for no reason. Take charge and call for help even if he tries to talk you out of it. Don't wait to see if his symptoms go away -- and call even if his symptoms suddenly disappear. He may be having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or ministroke, which is itself a warning sign that a full-blown stroke may be on the horizon.
    If you notice one or more of the following stroke signs, call 911 right away. Make a note of the exact time when symptoms began; this information can be extremely helpful for the emergency room personnel.

    Stroke sign #1: Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg -- especially on one side of the body

    You may notice that the stroke victim's mouth suddenly looks "uneven." Ask him to smile and see if one side droops. He may have difficulty moving his arm or controlling his fingers. Have him close his eyes and raise both arms to see if one of them drifts downward.

    Stroke sign #2: Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

    Language problems are among the most common signs of stroke. Someone having a stroke may suddenly begin slurring his speech or have trouble speaking. He may not be able to understand what you're saying to him. Ask him to repeat a simple sentence back to you, such as "I went to the store today." If he has difficulty getting the words out, the cause could be a stroke.

    Stroke sign #3: Sudden vision trouble in one or both eyes

    Vision problems that come on suddenly is another common stroke symptom. What to look for: Someone having a stoke may not be able to see clearly out of one eye, or may have difficulty looking to the right or left. He may complain of blurry or double vision.

    Stroke sign #4: Sudden difficulty walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness

    Walking as if intoxicated, stumbling, or even falling down are all stroke symptoms. Other similar signs to watch for: Walking with legs spread apart or a sudden loss of fine motor ability, such as an inability to write.

    Stroke sign #5: Sudden severe headache with no known cause

    A headache is not necessarily a stroke symptom. But if a headache strikes unexpectedly or seems unusually intense, it's reason for concern. If a stiff neck, facial pain, or vomiting accompanies the headache, the cause could be an intracranial hemorrhage, also known as a "red stroke."
    Not all of these warning signs occur with every stroke. Don't ignore stroke symptoms even if they disappear. And don't let the person talk you out of calling 911. Tell him you understand that he's upset, but you're going to call anyway because you love him. The most precious gift you can give someone who's having a stroke is immediate treatment.

    Source: Signs That Someone is Having a Stroke | Caring.com
  5. Evarm

    Evarm JF-Expert Member

    Sep 22, 2011
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    Kidhungu hichooo, nimesoma hadi nkalala, ila asante Mzizimkavu