When a person has a stroke, the brain's function is reduced because of injured brain cells. A stroke usually begins when a blood clot or clot of bacteria forms and moves to the brain and blocks the blood flow to areas of the brain. A blood clot also may begin in the brain itself, in a plaque clogged artery, or the brain may hemorrhage due to age, high blood pressure, or substance abuse.
The first symptoms of a stroke may be a severe headache, perhaps tingling, numbness, or difficulty moving the hands, reflex dysfunction, change in speaking voice, uncoordinated eyes, problems in walking and standing, visual changes, cognitive malfunction and memory loss, and difficulty in movement that affects one side of the body.
Causes of Strokes
Aging, diabetes, tobacco smoke, high levels of the wrong type of cholesterol compared to the good kind, high blood pressure, stress, and being a type A personality all can make one vulnerable to strokes.
Preventative Treatments for Strokes
Studies show that omega3 fatty acid supplements help prevent stroke in not one, but two ways. The agerelated decline of omega3 fatty acids in the brain leads to increased stroke risk, as well as increased risk for dementia. By supplementing the omega3 fatty acids you’re losing due to age, you reduce your chance of suffering a potentially debilitating stroke. Furthermore, omega3 fatty acids reduce the likelihood of platelet aggregation in blood vessels, thereby lessening your risk for both stroke and heart attack. Eating fatty fish such as salmon, which is a primary source of omega3, can cut the chances of strokes in half.
- Bring down high blood pressure with stress management, caffeine reduction, fewer sugars and starches, a weight loss program (if overweight) and less salt in your diet. At the same time, increase your potassium intake and use bloodpressurestabilizing foods like pure cocoa, garlic, and onion. Garlic in raw from or extract helps prevent strokes because it is an anticoagulant, and it lowers the bad cholesterol levels as well as lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. Ginger does these things as well, and can be eaten in foods or used in teas—just boil for 20 minutes. You can also use extract form.
- Avoid cigarette smoke, drugs and alcohol, other than a little red wine.
- Carnosine is a great stroke preventative.
- Ginkgo biloba aids overall brain circulation. Interestingly, Ginkgo is a prescription herb in Ireland. Be aware that it is a blood thinner, so take that into consideration if you are taking bloodthinning medications after a stroke.
- Hawthorn berries help the heart as well as the arteries.
- The bioflavonoid quercetin has been shown to reduce stroke risk by cleaning the blood vessels in the brain. Red wine contains quercetin. If you don’t drink, use the red wine extract, grape seed extract, or green tea extract.
- Tumeric is excellent for blood pressure and circulation. You may already enjoy this spice in curry, so if you enjoy the flavor, eat plenty of curry (just be sparing with the rice if you have blood sugar issues).
Treatments After a Stroke
Prevention is the best policy when it comes to stroke. If you have a stroke, however, seek medical help immediately, and ask the physician to administer Coumadin (warfarin sodium) within the first few hours of having the stroke. Hyperbaric oxygen delivered immediately after a transient ischemic attack (TIA; temporary interference with the brains blood supply, with no lasting damage) may prevent more serious strokes later. Be aware that TIAs are often warnings that a larger, more damaging stroke may be on its way.
Research shows that, along with Coumadin, giving recent stroke victims acetylLcarnitine (ALC) helps normalize brain energy metabolites, a factor that can make a large difference in how well the patient recovers from the stroke. In fact, stroke victims who were administered ALC shortly after the stroke experience better memory, task completion, and cognitive thought than those who did not receive ALC. Chelation therapy is also been found to be helpful.
Here are some more treatments:
- Bromelain breaks up blood clots.
- DMAE improves brain function. The amino acid Lcarnitine improves life after strokes.