Friday, July 17, 2015

Ways to prevent strokes….

Today's Post:  Friday, 7-17-2015

By 90 years old my Mom had lost my Dad who was her “rock,” her sane, tough, prudent, and problem solver so she mostly hadn’t needed to develop those skills.  And something or a few things failed in her eyesight, so by that time or soon after, she could no longer see well enough to go on hikes or daily exercise walks.

But she was spirited enough and had enough friends and family that she was mostly still all there when she wasn’t too tired.

Then, recently at age 92, she found a kind and bright boyfriend who was a great fit for her; and she became much sharper and had something to live for.

Way to go Mom!

It looked like this might give her another few good years. She really had gotten so much sharper this looked quite likely to me in fact.

Then just a few weeks later, she had some kind of stroke.  Unlike those that seem to shut down one side, it seemed to shut down her executive ability and her remaining mobility and her ability to access most of her memories.  In some ways she was no longer home or there.

(A recent study found that strokes age the brain by 8 to 10 years and she was 92.)

Then instead of gradually recovering she stopped eating and drinking and died.

So, since strokes are largely preventable, it motivated me to do this post.

1.  You can prevent strokes directly in several ways!:

a) A UK study found that people who eat 6 servings a day of vegetables have a death rate from all causes that is 43% less than people who don’t.  (And we know that if the vegetables are all organic and there is a variety including many cruciferous vegetables, the results will be even better.)

But that’s a LOT of vegetables.  (One effective work around is to put them into a Vitamix drink so you can drink them in a few minutes instead of having to chew them for ten.)

However, the fantastically good news for preventing stroke from the same study was that eating ONE serving of whole fresh fruit a day not only was almost that protective for stopping strokes, it was that protective for stopping BOTH the blood clot caused obstructive or ischemic strokes but was ALSO even more protective from the bleeding in the brain or hemorrhagic strokes!

(Fruit, particularly organic berries, seems to make the collagen in your blood vessels both healthier and stronger to cause these two effects.  Some studies showing that wild organic blueberries do this best and reduce stroke  the most also found a reduction in aging and an improvement in brain functioning equal to becoming mentally 12 years younger.)

Currently berries are in season and we have been eating some extra organic strawberries.

But for many years I’ve eaten some kind of fruit each day with breakfast.  Considering how protective that tested to be that’s great good luck! 

Besides the strawberries I eat thawed frozen wild blueberries three times a week and two bananas a week and vary the other two days.  Currently I’ve been eating kiwi fruit and no sugar applesauce.

Considering how easy and powerful this ONE thing is, be SURE to do it even if you don’t’ do any of these other things to remove the rest of the risk!

b) Keep your highest blood pressure readings below 159 over 99 even if you have to use drugs.

Long ago research found that blood pressure that high makes strokes more likely.  And as buggy and high on side effects as they are it was found that reducing blood pressures that high with drugs cuts the overall death rate and the deaths from strokes.

But if your blood pressure gets that high, the nondrug methods are much safer and it’s also imperative to find some that work for you.  The good news is that some new ones may work!

*  People who eat 6 to 10 servings a day of organic vegetables or drink them in a Vitamix drink get enough vegetable based nitrates and potassium to lower blood pressure as much or more than drugs.  (It can be quite challenging to do this without using a Vitamix.  I know more than most people to eat many vegetables each day and get 4700 mg a day of potassium; but I only manage about half that much!)

One man who ate 4 stalks of celery a day dropped his blood pressure by 40 over 18. 

And the DASH diets recommend a high vegetable intake that are about half way between where I am and optimum tend to cut blood pressure also.

I’m planning to get the Vitamix and hope to drop my blood pressure by close to half that much with that man’s approach.

*Obesity literally causes high blood pressure directly.  So if you begin to eat right and exercise and lose over 20 pounds your blood pressure will be less.  (There is a new way to lose fat we are testing that looks likely to enable people to lose another 20 or more pounds of fat – thus driving down blood pressure even more!  If it works for me, it should drop my blood pressure by at least 10 points.)

*There are many ways to get stress relief enough to lower high blood pressure driven by stress.  The Resparate device must be used something like 15 minutes almost every day to work.  But Tai Chi and yoga can do this in shorter session and give you exercise effects too.
And, there are now two high tech stress relief devices that seem to work and may be even more time efficient!

c) Prevent the blood vessel damage in you that causes heart attacks, ED, vascular dementia, and PAD.  The reduction in blood flow to your brain increases the damage if you have a stroke and the narrowing of your blood vessels in your brain makes them easier to block.

*Many food and drink ingredients are heart attack starters comparable to tobacco smoke in how effective they are in causing the blood vessel diseases that cause both heart attacks and strokes.

It is doable to NOT eat or drink ANY of these things or come very, very close.

High fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrates, artificial sweeteners, MSG, refined GMO hybrid wheat, soy and corn and canola oils, and protein foods from animals fed those grains which are also usually GMO and any amount of hydrogenated fat or oils.

Each and every one of those things are heart attack starters.  And the closer your intake of any and all of them is to zero the less likely you are to get strokes and heart attacks.

*Nicotine and tobacco smoke on every single exposure also add to cardiovascular disease.  So zero exposure to them prevents strokes.

But it’s even worse than that for tobacco smoke!  Within minutes of ANY exposure your blood pressure goes up!  This effect is known to trigger heart attacks because when second hand smoke is stopped by laws against smoking in public places the incidence of heart attacks and related trips to the Emergency Room is cut in half!

**Not doing any or all of those things enables you to slash your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

* Lower small particle LDL tends to prevent heart attacks and strokes is one effect from stopping heart attack starters.  Taking 300 to 600 mg a day of real niacin does this.  So does eating wild caught fish high in omega 3.  So does taking the omega 3 and the omega 3 DHA as supplements.  So does getting at least some vigorous exercise most days of every week.  So does taking sterols like beta sitosterol. AND so does taking turmeric or curcumin with black pepper and ginger every day. 

(This results in high HDL readings, low triglyceride readings, and low LDL readings. 

Note that this set of things gets BETTER readings than taking high dose statin drugs; is far more protective; and has massively fewer side effects!)

* Lower HSCRP inflammation is one effect from stopping heart attack starters. Eating wild caught fish high in omega 3 does this.  So does taking the omega 3 and the omega 3 DHA as supplements. AND so does taking turmeric or curcumin with black pepper and ginger every day.

* Avoid MSG, proton pump inhibitors, nicotine and tobacco smoke, and excessive salt intake.

MSG boosts HSCRP inflammation, causes obesity, and can cause thyroid damage that then causes obesity.  And, obesity causes high blood pressure and TIA’s which both cause strokes!

Proton pump inhibitor drugs it was just found out cause blood vessel damage and high blood pressure which both tend to cause strokes.  (Mercifully H2 blockers, a replacement drug for heartburn and reflux, don’t seem to do this.)

Lastly excessive salt intake causes strokes by increasing blood pressure and harming the lining of your blood vessels and this damage also causes gout!  There is some question if very low salt intakes are helpful but intakes of over 3500 mg a day are clearly super harmful.

* Remove excess fat if more than moderate.

We already covered that above.  But losing 40 pounds or more can turn off high blood pressure and its stroke risks as much as 100%.

 AND the stopping of the heart attack starters, eating more vegetables and regular vigorous exercise that help cause fat loss and are essential to keeping it off each help prevent strokes!

* Keep your heart fit but avoid over-stressing it.  Long unvarying cardio such as marathon races is now known to harm your heart and blood vessels.  The much better news is that if you build up to even more intense but MUCH SHORTER bursts of cardio, you can be fit in 10 to 20 minutes just 3 times a week.  This strengthens your heart without over-stressing it!  The key is to rest it before it gets over-stressed.  But over time it can do more and more as long as you keep the bursts to seconds or minutes instead of more than 2 or 3 minutes and build in rest breaks.

d) Avoid daily aspirin and gum disease and TIA’s.

*Aspirin prevents blood clots; but people doing the things above get better heart and stroke protection and don’t need that effect.  What’s far less known is that aspirin can cause low clotting enough to cause hemorrhagic strokes!

*TIAs are a kind of fluttery heart beat can cause strokes too either directly by causing blood clots or hemorrhagic strokes from the drugs to prevent the clots.  It’s caused by obesity and excessive alcohol intake.  So turn those off or avoid them for stroke protection!

*Gum disease releases bacteria that cause heart disease and infections that more than double stroke risks.  So take over 7,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 to protect you from the bacteria an infections and learn to brush and floss in a way that prevents these things; do it daily; and every six months have your teeth cleaned to protect your gums from this and you from getting strokes caused by this!

2.  Prevent disability and minimize the damage if you have a stroke.

a) Increase your brain’s network and plasticity so your brain has more ways to recover.
Socialize often, keep learning, and try new ways of doing things occasionally!

The bigger and more interconnected your brain’s networks are the easier it is to keep functions and recover them when sections of them go down!

b) Take ginkgo biloba! That’s because studies show that when people who have already been taking it for several weeks or more before a stroke sustain less far less damage!

(The effects of it giving the brain better circulation apparently reduce the damage or get blood flow going more quickly if there is a stroke.)

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Blogger David said...

The Medscape Heart email just came and had two things that fit:

Besides eating fruit and vegetables which tended to boost blood levels of vitamin C, a study was reported that the high blood levels themselves might be protective from strokes. So that means that ALSO taking 500 mg of vitamin C one or more times a day may help protect you from strokes.

It also had a study confirming that exposure to second hand smoke boosted stroke risk by 30%.

12:59 PM  

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