STROKE! Don't be a victim - how to prevent you or your loved ones from being one

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Man of you are still enjoying the last few hours of your Thanksgiving Holiday. However, I have a friend whose family did not have that luxury or pleasure this year.  He was found unconscious on his living room floor having suffered a stroke.

No one, and I do mean - NO ONE - saw that coming.  He has always been energetic, full of good humor.  He was my go to guy for great jokes - and he kept piling them on via the internet.  I don't know where he got them from, but he always managed to have something to cause you to laugh yourself silly.

Nevertheless, this wonderful friend is now on life support.  And I and my prayer line, and our classmates have been in deep prayer for his full recovery 24/7 for the next 30 days. 

And while I know that it is God, the Living Spirit Almighty, who has the final say, and we are all praying for His miracle, there is something that I must say at this point.  We have to be about the business of taking better care of ourselves and each other.  While my family has been blessed and there are no candidates or victims that I know of who have suffered from, or are prone to, stroke;  it's still important to make sure you (we) are doing the right things to prevent this tragedy from happening, either to ourselves, or to someone we love.

So without becoming paranoid, hypochondriacal, or superstitious - I wanted to present some symptoms, and some preventatives that might be helpful for you or someone you love.

So, I'm starting off with the medical definition of a stroke:

        Image result for what is a stroke medical
    Stroke is a medical emergency and a leading cause of death in the U.S. It occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or, more commonly, when a blockage develops. Without treatment, cells in the brain quickly begin to die. The result can be serious disability or death.Apr 15, 2014

    A stroke can be caused by a clot or blockage in one of the main arteries that then cuts off oxygen
    to the brain, or it can be caused by a sudden breaking of a blood vessel in the brain, which, if not
    stopped immediately, may be fatal. This is generally, but not always, brought on by high blood pressure. For more technical, in depth information, look it up on Google, or 
    talk with a medical practitioner.  By most accounts, however, strokes are preventable.  

    Time is Brain. Call 9-1-1.
    Few Americans know the signs of stroke. Learning them and acting FAST
    when they occur could save your life or the life of a loved one. 
    Remember that stroke strikes FAST and you should too. Call 9-1-1.
    Use the FAST test to recognize and respond to the signs of stroke.
    F = FACE
    A = ARMS
    S = SPEECH

    T = TIME
    Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
    Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

    Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound
    slurred or strange?

    If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1immediately.

    Reducing Stroke Risk
    Everyone has some stroke risk. Some risk factors are beyond your control,
    including being over age 55, being a male (stroke is more common in men
    than women at younger ages, but more women experience strokes at older
    ages and more women than men die from stroke),  having diabetes, and
    having a family history of stroke. If you have one of these risk factors, it is
    even more important that you learn about the lifestyle and medical changes
    you can make to prevent a stroke. However, everyone should do what they
    can to reduce their risk for stroke learn more by reading and following the
    Prevention Guidelines below.

    Medical stroke risk factors include:
    Previous stroke, previous episode of TIA (or mini stroke), high cholesterol,
    high blood pressure, heart disease, atrial fibrillation and carotid artery disease.
    These medical risk factors can be controlled and managed even if you 
    have already had issues with any of them in the past. Talk with your 
    doctor about what will work best for you.

    Lifestyle stroke risk factors include:
    Smoking, being overweight and drinking too much alcohol. You can control these lifestyle risk factors by quitting smoking, exercising regularly, watching what and how much you eat and limiting alcohol consumption.
    Public Stroke Prevention Guidelines
    1. Know your blood pressure.
      If it is elevated, work with your doctor to keep it under control. High

       blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. Have your blood pressure
       checked at least once each yearmore often if you have a history 
      of high blood pressure.
    2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (AF).
      If you have AF, work with your doctor to manage it. Atrial fibrillation 
      can cause blood to collect in the chambers of your heart. This blood
      can form clots and cause a stroke. Your doctor can detect AF by carefully
       checking your pulse.
    3. If you smoke, stop.
      Smoking doubles the risk for stroke. If you stop smoking today, your

      risk for stroke will begin to decrease.
    4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
      Drinking a glass of wine or beer or one drink each day may lower your risk for

      stroke (provided that there is no other medical reason you should avoid
      alcohol). Remember that alcohol is a drug - it can interact with other
      drugs you are taking, and alcohol is harmful if taken in large doses. 
      If you don’t drink, don’t start.
    5. Know your cholesterol number.
      If it is high, work with your doctor to control it. Lowering your cholesterol

      may reduce your stroke risk. High cholesterol can also indirectly increase stroke
       risk by putting you at greater risk of heart disease - an important stroke risk factor. Often times, high cholesterol can be controlled with diet and exercise; some individuals may require medication.

    6. Control  diabetes.
    If you are diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully because
    diabetes puts you at an increased risk for stroke. Your doctor can prescribe
    a nutrition program, lifestyle changes and medicine that can help control diabetes.
    7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine.
    A brisk walk, swim or other exercise activity for as little as 30 minutes a 

    day can improve your health in many ways, and may reduce your risk for
    8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet.
    By cutting down on sodium and fat in your diet, you may be able to lower

    your blood pressure and, most importantly, lower your risk for stroke.
    9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems.
    If so, work with your doctor to control them. Fatty deposits can block 

    arteries that carry blood from your heart to your brain. Sickle cell disease, severe
    anemia, or other diseases can cause stroke if left untreated.
    10. Act FAST.
    If you have any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
    1 MiniƱo, Arialdi, Jiaquan Xu, and Kenneth Kochanek. Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2008. National 
    Vital Statistics Reports (2010) 59.2.
    2 American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2011 Update. Dallas, Texas:

     American Heart Association; 2010. 



    Before I go into Dr. Mercola's overview of how to prevent strokes, I wanted to put this
    information up front if you, or anyone you know has suffered a stroke, as to a methodology
    that increases the possibility of complete recovery:

    The unquestionable treatment of chioce for acute stroke rehabilitation would be hyperbaric
    oxygen therapy (HBOT). Research has shown that HBOT helps your body produce and mobilize 
    mesenchymal stem cells, which play a critical role in your body's attempt to repair any injured 
    tissues or cells. For more information, please review www.strokedoctor.com.”

    ischemic stroke were given niacin, their brains showed growth of new blood vessels, and sprouting of
    nerve cells which greatly improved neurological outcome. While this likely needs to be studied further,
    it serves as yet another potent example of how nutrition is at the heart of all healing mechanisms in your
    body, even when it comes to something as serious as a stroke.

    And if your doctor does not use this method, find someone who does, and get your loved one
    to him or her immediately, if not sooner.


    Story at-a-glance
    Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Diet, vitamin D status, and exercise are three
    important lifestyle factors that have a direct bearing on your individual risk
    Your diet plays a crucial role in reducing your risk for a stroke.
    Foods to avoid—because they can directly increase your risk—include processed foods
    containing trans fats, smoked- or processed meats, and diet sodas
    Before cutting out red meat and salt from your diet, fearing these foods may increase
    your stroke risk, learn how not all meats and salts are created equal. While some increase your risk,
    other varieties can have an opposite and beneficial effect
    3 Foods that can Trigger a Stroke
    By Dr. Mercola
    According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading
    cause of death in the United States, and is a rapidly growing health threat
    for middle-aged women in particular. The most common type of stroke is
    called "ischemic stroke," which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel
    supplying blood to your brain.
    A number of factors are likely behind the surprising rise in strokes in women,
    Increasing rates of obesity (women's waists have grown by nearly two inches
    in the last 10 years)
    Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure. Sun avoidance also increases
    your risk of vitamin D sulfate deficiency, which may be an underlying cause of
    arterial plaque buildup (a risk factor for stroke)
    Rising prevalence of high blood sugar levels
    Strokes Typically Occur Without ANY Warning
    This is why prevention is so important. You simply will not have any warning signs
    indicating that you're heading for a stroke in the future... And once you suffer a stroke,
    the damage, should you survive it, can be absolutely devastating.
    I like to refer to most strokes as a brain attack, which is similar to a heart attack;
    the only difference is that the blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain instead of
    your heart. As a result, brain cells begin to die. Naturally, the longer your brain goes
    without oxygen, the greater your risk of lasting brain damage. This is one area where
    conventional emergency medicine excels, as there are emergency medications that
    can actually dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your brain, and if done
    quickly enough can virtually reverse any permanent neurological damage. 
    In order to be effective, you typically need to get treated within one hour. This is clearly
    one of the miracles of modern science, however it all goes to waste if one does
    not address the underlying conditions after the stroke. However, if you notice any
    of these signs of stroke, you should get help right away:
    Sudden trouble walking (dizziness, loss of balance, etc.)
    Sudden confusion
    Sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of your body only)
    Sudden trouble seeing
    Sudden severe headache

    To Prevent a Stroke, First Address Your Diet
    Clearly, in the case of strokes (and most disease), prevention is your best option,
    and your diet plays a CRUCIAL role. (Later, I'll also discuss other lifestyle choices
    that can have a very significant impact, such as vitamin D.)
    A recent article featured by Yahoo Health lists five different foods that have been
    linked to an increased risk of stroke. I agree with three of the five mentioned, and
    will review those below.
    The other two, namely red meat and salt, need some clarification as not all meats
    and salts are created equal. The devil is in the details, as they say, and that's
    definitely something to keep in mind before you banish all red meat and salt
    from your diet. 
    Red meat—I believe it is a serious mistake to lump ALL red meats together, because
    the differences between meat raised in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)
    and organically-raised, grass-fed meats are so vast, it's like talking about two completely
    different foods.

    Organic grass-fed beef is typically NOT associated with any of the ill health effects
    you see from CAFO beef, but very few researchers, let alone journalists, ever
    make this distinction. For more information about why grass-fed beef is actually
    good for you and will NOT promote disease the way CAFO beef does, please

    Salt—As for salt, you cannot compare the processed salt used in processed foods
    with natural, unrefined salt. So while I agree that steering clear of processed
    foods will help you reduce your stroke risk and improve your health in general,
    it's important to understand that you don't have to avoid ALL salt, just the processed
    kind (think regular table salt).

    Unrefined natural salt on the other hand, such as Himalayan salt, is actually very
    important for a variety of biological processes, including helping the lining of your
    blood vessels to regulate blood pressure—clearly a beneficial effect, as opposed
    to a disease-promoting one. To learn more about the differences between processed
    and the natural unrefined salt essential for life, please review this previous article.  

    Trans-Fats: Known to Increase Stroke Risk
    This includes numerous processed foods, such as crackers, chips, most store-bought
    baked goods, and any fried foods, just to name a few examples. Trans fats are known
    to promote inflammation, which is a hallmark of most chronic and/or serious diseases;
    not just strokes and heart disease.
    Women in particular would be well served to heed this advice as stroke rates are on
    the rise in middle-aged women, and poor dietary choices is likely a significant culprit. 
    In one study, released last year, post-menopausal women who consumed the most
    daily dietary trans fat had a 30 percent higher incidence of ischemic strokes.
    Please also understand that nearly all health journalists and "experts" will also lump
    saturated fats into this category and that would be a major mistake, as
    saturated fats in appropriate quantities and not damaged by heat are
    actually health promoting.

    Beware of Smoked and Processed Meats
    Certain preservatives, such as sodium nitrate and nitrite found in smoked
    and processed meats have been shown to damage your blood vessels,
    which could increase your risk of stroke. Nitrates are frequently converted into
    nitrosamines, which are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
    No one should eat processed meats such as Hot dogs, bacon, salami and
    other processed meats; they may also:
    Increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent
    Lower your lung function
    Increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    Keep these foods to a minimum in your diet.

    And, if you are going to eat bacon, sausage, ham or any other processed
    meat product once in awhile, following these guidelines:
    Choose organic meats that are grass-fed or free-range
    Look for "uncured" varieties that contain NO nitrates
    Choose varieties that say 100% beef, 100% chicken, etc. This is the only
    way to know that the meat is from a single species and does not include
    byproducts (like chicken skin or chicken fat)
    Avoid any meat that contains MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives,
    artificial flavor or artificial color
    Ideally, purchase sausages and other processed meats from a small, local
    farmer who you can ask about the ingredients

    Diet Soda May Dramatically Increase Your Stroke Risk
    Earlier this year, research presented at the American Stroke Association's
    International Stroke Conference showed that people who drink just one diet
    According to the authors:
    "This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened
    beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke, myocardial infarction,
    or vascular death than regular soda."
    While more research will likely be needed to confirm this potential link, there's plenty
    of evidence showing that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and
    sucralose (Splenda) can be dangerous to your health. I believe aspartame is,
    by far, the most dangerous artificial sweetener on the market. Reports of adverse
    reactions to the US FDA also support this, as aspartame accounts for over 75 percent
    of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.

    How Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Your Stroke Risk
    (AHA) Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, IL in November last year,
    low levels of vitamin D—the essential nutrient obtained from exposure to
    sunlight—doubles the risk of stroke in Caucasians.
    Vitamin D is the only known substrate for a potent pleiotropic (meaning it produces
    multiple effects) repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves
    multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body. This is why the health benefits
    of vitamin D run the gamut from improved immune function to significantly reduced
    cancer risk, to improved mercury detoxification... 
    It essentially works as a "master key" to activate the DNA "library" within each
    cell in your body. This cellular DNA library contains information needed to address
    virtually every kind of stimulus the cell may encounter; hence the reason why vitamin D
    works in so many different tissues, and affects such a large number of different
    diseases and health conditions. So far, scientists have found about 3,000 genes
    that are upregulated by vitamin D.
    Not only is vitamin D deficiency known to increase your risk of arterial stiffness,
    a major risk factor for stroke, but it can also:
    Increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent
    Lower your lung function
    Other Stroke-Prevention Guidelines
    It's important to realize that the vast majority—up to 80 percent, according to the
    National Stroke Association—of strokes are preventable, so you have a lot of "say"
    in whether or not you're going to become a statistic here.
    So, besides avoiding processed foods (especially smoked and processed meats)
    and diet sodas, and making sure your vitamin D levels are within the therapeutic range,
    what else can help lower your stroke risk? Conventionally speaking, many of the same
    risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease also increase your risk of stroke,

    and these include factors like:
    High blood pressure
    Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol
    So, as with your heart, eating unprocessed, preferably organic, foods, exercising and
    maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce your risk of stroke. 
    Two additional risk factors that can have a direct impact on your stroke risk are:
    Psychological distress. According to a 2008 study published in the journal Neurology,
    the more stressed you are, the greater your risk. The researchers actually found that for
    every notch lower a person scored on their well-being scale, their risk of stroke increased
    by 11 percent. Not surprisingly, the relationship between psychological distress and stroke
    was most pronounced when the stroke was fatal.
    Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills. If you're on one of the
    hormonal birth control methods (whether it's the pill, patch, vaginal ring or implant),
    it is important to understand that you are taking synthetic progesterone and synthetic
    estrogen -- something that is clearly not advantageous if you want to maintain optimal health.
    These contraceptives contain the same synthetic hormones as those used in
    hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has well-documented risks, including
    an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and breast cancer.

    For more information, log on to www.mercola.com – or subscribe to Dr. Mercola's Newsletter.

    NOTE:  We will need his information now, more than ever, since Congress has passed the legislation

    that says it is no longer required to list the ingredients in processed foods – the so-called DARK