What You Can Do To Reduce Risks For Stroke

What You Can Do To Reduce Risks For Stroke

Stroke is a condition that falls under the umbrella of heart disease. Most people don’t realize that there are three kinds of stroke and that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of all kinds of stroke.

The three major kinds of stroke include the following:

• Thrombotic stroke – This is the type of stroke in which plaques build up on the arterial walls of the arteries leading to the brain. The plaques narrow the blood vessels and clots can form in the narrowed areas, causing a reduction in oxygen and blood flow to the brain stops.

• Embolic stroke – This is the type of stroke in which there is a blood clot somewhere in the body (usually on a heart valve) that breaks off and travels through the bloodstream so that it cuts off the circulation to an area of the brain, resulting in a stroke.

• Hemorrhagic stroke – Rather than an area of the brain being without blood and oxygen, a blood vessel in the brain opens up, causing bleeding to occur within the brain. This can be due to areas of weakness in the blood vessels or to aneurysms in the brain that open up and bleed.

Stroke Statistics In The United States

• Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States
• There are 795,000 strokes every year
• Someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds of each and every day in the US
• Stroke is the leading reason for serious disability overall, and those who survive are often left with paralysis and speech impairment causing long term disability, often requiring long term care
• After the age of 55 years old, the risk for stroke doubles every decade
• Almost ¾ of all strokes occur in people age older than 65

(Data source: Internet Stroke Center)

Prevention Of Stroke

There are different ways to prevent a stroke depending on the type of stroke you are trying to prevent. There are some things you can do that prevent a certain type of stroke but that has the potential to worsen another type of stroke.

The following are some things you can do to prevent a stroke:

• Maintain a normal blood pressure – This holds true for all kinds of stroke. If your blood pressure is too high, it contributes to arterial spasm and increases the risk of thrombotic stroke. If the blood pressure is too high, it can push the blood clot in the heart from the heart valve into the circulatory system of the brain, resulting in an embolic stroke. In a completely different way, high blood pressure can cause hemorrhagic strokes. If there is a weakness in the walls of any part of the brain’s circulatory system, high blood pressure can cause that weak area to open up, resulting in the kind of bleeding you see in a hemorrhagic stroke.

• Maintain a normal cholesterol – Cholesterol is what makes up part of the plaques that contribute to getting a thrombotic stroke. If you maintain a good level of cholesterol, the plaques don’t build up so much and the chance that a blood clot can form in the arteries is much less. You can keep a good cholesterol level by eating food that is low in cholesterol or by taking medications designed to lower the cholesterol level.

• Stop smoking – Smoking has the potential to raise your blood pressure, increasing the risk of all kinds of strokes. Smoking also contributes to plaque formation in the walls of the blood vessels so that the risk of thrombotic stroke increases. The longer you smoke, the greater is the risk of developing all kinds of heart disease, including that of thrombotic stroke.

• Take a baby aspirin – Baby aspirin is a commonly used medication used to prevent the recurrence of heart attack in a patient who has already had a heart attack. Aspirin is a platelet inhibitor, which means that it blocks platelets from sticking together and forming a blood clot. This same phenomenon can work in the prevention of both thrombotic strokes and embolic strokes. If the platelets cannot form a blood clot, it will prevent a blood clot from forming on a heart valve so that it can’t travel to an area of the brain, leading to an embolic stroke. In the same way, when platelets are blocked from forming a clot inside a narrowed area of the blood vessels leading to the brain, this thwarts the onset of a thrombotic stroke.

Living a healthy lifestyle so that the blood pressure is reduced, smoking is not a problem, and cholesterol is kept within normal levels will go a long way toward reducing the incidence of all kinds of strokes.

If you are concerned about stroke, or any type of heart disease it is a great idea to see your doctor and get a full physical and relevant screenings to be sure that there is not more that you can do to ensure you remain in optimal health.


The Most Common Causes for Childhood Obesity

The Most Common Causes for Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a significant problem that will not just go away.

The lifestyle your children are living today, will determine their health 10, 20, 30, 40 and more years from now.

No parent wants that 3 am phone call from the hospital emergency room informing them their child has suffered a heart attack or some other obesity related illness and may die.

Children as young as five are so overweight that they cannot be children.

When your children are overweight they may lack the motivation and physical stamina to run and play. The ability of your child to stay active is one of the essential elements of getting and staying healthy.

Children are meant to play and enjoy life.

Childhood obesity causes a number of health issues. Children who are overweight tend to be sick more often, miss more days of school, get behind in school work, suffer poor self esteem.

Poor self esteem can lead to your child staying in their room playing video games and being less active.

Obesity in children becomes a vicious cycle if someone is not willing to step in and break the cycle.

That someone has to be you, the parent.

A better understanding of childhood obesity can help parents make decisions that will help reverse and prevent obesity so your children can start living a happier and healthier life.

What Is Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity is a health condition.

When obesity is diagnosed, it’s generally based on a child’s BMI or body mass index.

The Center for Disease Control defines obesity as a BMI greater than the 95th percentile. When you visit your pediatrician your child’s height and weight are ranked on a scale. The scale is then compared to the average child across the country and healthy levels.

What Causes Childhood Obesity?

There are actually many causes of childhood obesity. In some cases there are hereditary elements involved.

A child may inherit a thyroid problem or another hormonal problem.

If parents and other family members are obese, then children are more likely to be obese as well. However, there are other environmental factors that may have more significant bearing on a child’s health.

Most commonly childhood obesity is caused by poor eating habits and inactivity.

Many obese children live on a regular diet of starchy carbs and high fat foods.

A fast food diet is a prime cause of obesity amongst children.

A diet that is high in sugar, white flour and fat will quickly cause children to have imbalanced blood sugar. They’ll have blood sugar highs and lows which lead to cravings. Cravings lead to more unfortunate food choices and the cycle can quickly get out of hand.

The problem is only further enhanced when parents are unable to or do not provide healthy options. When cupboards are stocked with junk food, children almost always choose the junk over a healthy snack.

Couple the issues of an unhealthy diet with inactivity and you have the makings for childhood obesity.

More and more children are left home to fend for themselves after school. When they’re home they sit on the couch and watch television. They play video or computer games.

They’re not active outside.

They’re not moving their body.

They’re not playing.

The bottom line is children are consuming way more calories than they burn.

The calories they do consume are not providing them with the nutrients they need.

Overweight and obese children face a life of ridicule by their peers. They face health challenges most adults cannot fathom.

They also face a shorter lifespan.

It’s a very sad prognosis.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be reversed.

Children are incredibly adaptable. They can learn hew habits. But they cannot do it alone. They need support.

They need adults who can help them make responsible and healthy decisions.


Why Do You Have High Blood Pressure

Why do you have high blood pressure?

The first question that comes to mind if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure is why.

There are many factors that may play a role in the development of high blood pressure and it not always an indication that you are doing something wrong.

The following are the common factors and lifestyle issues that play a role in the development of high blood pressure:


Genetics- having a family history of high blood pressure can predispose you to developing high blood pressure. Lifestyle modification can have a big impact on your blood pressure; however, if you have a family history it may be inevitable that you will require medication to keep your blood pressure under control.

Obesity- obesity increases the workload of the heart causing an elevation in your heart rate and blood pressure. Obesity frequently results in the development of diabetes and over a long period of time uncontrolled diabetes may affect the kidneys which play a role in the development of high blood pressure. Also, patients that suffer from obesity develop hardening of the arteries. This hardening of the arteries prevents the blood vessel from relaxing with a subsequent increase in your blood pressure.

Make it your goal to start taking the steps to achieve your ideal body weight. The longer you wait the harder it is and the greater your risk of suffering from the long term side effects of high blood pressure and obesity.

Alcohol use- a small amount of alcohol intake may be good for your heart and cholesterol levels. However, excessive alcohol intake can actually cause an elevation in blood pressure, stress the walls of the heart, damage the liver, and increase your risk of falls and automobile accidents.

Smoking and use of other nicotine products- nicotine causes constriction of the blood vessels and stimulates the heart causing a rise in your blood pressure. The best first step in managing high blood pressure is to quit smoking. This adverse effect is also seen with all nicotine products not just smoking. Smoking not only affects your blood pressure, but can result in chronic lung disease, hardening of the arteries, and lung cancer.

Salt intake- excessive salt intake can result in an elevation in your blood pressure. Salt (sodium chloride) causes you to retain fluid and pulls fluid into the blood vessels causing a rise in your blood pressure due to the increase in fluid volume. Avoiding excessive salt and not adding salt to your diet is a great first step in managing your high blood pressure.

Stressful lifestyle- some stress in our lives can be beneficial; however, when the stress gets out of control it can have an adverse affect on your health. Continued poorly managed stress causes an elevation in your bodies adrenaline (catecholamines) which cause stimulation of the heart, constriction of the blood vessels and increases in your blood pressure. Healthy stress management plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining optimal health and blood pressure. Lean how to meditate and starting an exercise program will make a big impact on your health and blood pressure.

Legal and illegal drug use- some over the counter medications such as cold medications, and anti-inflammatory medication can contribute to an elevation in your blood pressure. Many cold preparations contain the decongestants pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine which cause and increase in blood pressure by the constriction of your blood vessels. The stimulant medications such as adderral, ritalin, dextro-amphetamine and others used to help treat attention deficit disorder and similar conditions can also result in elevations in blood pressure. Caution should be used when taking these medications if you suffer from high blood pressure.

Illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine result in a similar response when taken even in small amounts. If an elevation in your blood pressure does not deter your use, then the risk of incarceration and destruction of your life should open your eyes.

The above lifestyle changes can play a big role in improving not only your blood pressure, but your overall health.

Learning to check your blood pressure and monitoring it at home is crucial to taking an active role in achieving optimal health.