By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
December 19, 2016
- Strokes aren’t reserved for senior citizens
- How do you know if it’s a stroke or not?
- Take these steps to slash your risk now!
You may have seen a recent news headline or two that say hospitalizations for stroke have fallen greatly in recent years. This is great news!
But before you start celebrating, there’s another side of the story that I found very disturbing.
You see, strokes are on the decline… in people over the age of 65. However, they’re on the rise in younger adults.
That’s right. These life-altering events are striking younger folks more often than ever before. In fact, over a period of just 10 years, stroke rates rose by almost 44% in people between the ages of 25 and 44.
Now, if you fall in this age group you probably think you’re bulletproof. There’s no way you could have a stroke.
Well, that’s exactly what every 20- 30- or 40-something adult who has ever experienced a stroke thought… until it happened to them.
How do you know if it’s really a Stroke?
It’s hard enough for older folks to imagine having a stroke, let alone if you’re middle-age or younger. So when a stroke does strike, it can be hard to make sense of it. This often results in a delayed diagnosis.
Unfortunately, any delay in treatment can lead to permanent damage. It can take years of therapy to recover speaking skills and regain control of your body. And about a third of younger adults still have disabilities a full decade after a stroke hits.
That’s the last thing you want to have happen when you still have years of life ahead of you.
Now, there’s an acronym – it’s called FAST – that you can use to determine the warning signs of a stroke. This stands for…
- Facial drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911
If you need help identifying these symptoms, there are some simple ways to check them.
A smile will quickly show if your face is drooping, because only one side of your mouth will be able to execute the smile. Raising both arms over your head will reveal any arm weakness (in either arm)… and speaking a full and coherent sentence can determine any speech difficulties.
For an extremely quick check of symptoms, try raising your arms while sticking out your tongue.
If you experience difficulty with any single one of these tasks, it’s time to call 911 without delay!
What Puts You at Risk for a Stroke?
Some of the most common factors that can lead to a stroke include high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
In particular, high blood pressure is a real problem. It plays a role in more than half of all strokes that occur worldwide. And, of course, being overweight and/or having diabetes are both major factors that contribute to high blood pressure.
However, all of these health concerns are highly preventable.
Like I always tell my patients, you – and you alone – have the power to take control of your body and nip these health problems in the bud.
Eating a healthy, Mediterranean style diet, getting plenty of physical activity and managing your stress levels are your first steps. All of these are critically important if you want to maintain a healthy blood flow, halt diabetes and drop excess pounds.
When you’ve got all of that under control, you’ll find that you no longer have to worry about your blood pressure. Plus, your risk of a stroke will drop considerably.
But that won’t happen overnight. So while you’re working on getting your body back into a healthy balance, I’d like to suggest a few things you can do to help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
My all time favorite for healthy blood flow and blood pressure is beetroot juice. Just 250 ml of beetroot juice each day can lower your blood pressure by about 8/4 mmHg (8 points on the top number, 4 points on the bottom number). It also reduces arterial stiffness and thickening of the arteries.
I also recommend getting more garlic in your diet. The effects of this “stinky rose” are similar to those of the beta blocker atenolol, without the side effects. Garlic can also reduce plaque in your arteries and improve circulation.
Just two cloves a day will do the job. Or, if you want to keep your breath smelling sweet, try a supplement of 600 mg. aged garlic extract each day.
Ramirez L, et al. Trends in Acute Ischemic Stroke Hospitalizations in the United States. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 May; 5(5): e003233.
Early strokes leave many young adults with long-lasting disability. Press Release. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report. Feb 2014
Smajlović D. Strokes in young adults: epidemiology and prevention. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2015; 11: 157–164.
Webb AJ, et al. Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite.Hypertension. 2008 Mar;51(3):784-90.
Kapil V, et al. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension. 2015 Feb;65(2):320-7.
Ashraf R, et al. Effects of Allium sativum (Garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2013 Sep;26(5):859-63.