By Ryan Chase
VSCP LAW handles many cases involving strokes, delayed diagnosis of strokes, and medical malpractice related to strokes. To reduce the risk of strokes, the first step is to spread awareness about stroke prevention.
This blog marks the first in our series of stroke awareness blogs.
A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, happens when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. When this happens, brain tissue cannot get the necessary oxygen and nutrients. Because of this, strokes can lead to brain damage, disability, and even death.
The following are lifestyle changes anyone can make to reduce the risk of stroke:
Eat more plant-based foods.
Saturated fats, trans fat, salt, and cholesterol (found in animal-based foods) are definitively linked to strokes and stroke-related conditions. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, carry essential minerals, nutrients, and fiber; they are also low in fat.
Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet will help lower your risk of stroke. Diets that are high in salt (sodium) increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Try cutting salt from your diet by reducing your intake of processed or fast food for stroke prevention. Animal fats increase your cholesterol levels, so swap in healthy proteins such as nuts, lentils, tofu, and beans for pork, beef, and chicken.
Engage in regular exercise.
Exercise – in particular, cardiovascular exercise –reduces your chance of stroke because it lowers blood pressure. It also may reduce the risk of stroke-contributing factors such as obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Control hypertension (high blood pressure).
People with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of stroke. Eating healthful diets, lowering salt intake, engaging in regular exercise, and quitting smoking can help you control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
Smokers are more likely to suffer from strokes than non-smokers. When you inhale cigarette smoke, you breathe in carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen in your system, and nicotine, which causes your heart to beat faster. This leads to raised blood pressure, a leading cause of strokes. Quitting smoking is an excellent way to practice stroke prevention.
Reduce alcohol consumption.
Alcohol consumption can lead to increased blood pressure and damage the liver. Preventing liver damage and keeping blood pressure at a healthy rate are both excellent stroke prevention steps.
Treat sleep apnea.
People with sleep apnea are at higher risk of stroke. If you suffer from sleep apnea and natural remedies such as a healthy diet and regular exercise don’t help, consult a physician. There are oral appliances and positive airway pressure machines (like a CPAP) that can help combat sleep apnea.
Having diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood, damaging your blood vessels over time. Excess sugar in your blood can make the blood vessels stiff and cause a build-up of fatty deposits. Diabetes treatment options will depend upon what kind of diabetes you have. Work with your healthcare provider to create an effective plan for managing your diabetes.
Avoid illegal drugs.
Illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines can cause rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, inadequate respiration, low oxygen, and blood vessel spasms. Avoid any consumption of illegal drugs because even low to moderate illegal drug use could lead to stroke. Stroke prevention starts with a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
If you’ve had a TIA or are at high risk of stroke due to health complications, your doctor may prescribe you medication to reduce the chance of suffering a stroke. Stroke prevention medications include:
High cholesterol can lead to fatty build-up in the artery walls that narrows or blocks the artery to the brain, causing a stroke. Statins are an example of cholesterol-lowering medicine.
High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for stroke because if your blood pressure is too high, your arteries can thicken over time. They become weaker, less flexible, and then become more prone to blood clots. Lower blood pressure may reduce the risk of strokes.
Platelets are cells in your blood that form blood clots. Antiplatelet drugs make these cells less sticky and therefore less likely to clot. Aspirin is an example of an antiplatelet drug.
These drugs thin out the blood and reduce blood clotting.
Sometimes, even practicing stroke prevention doesn’t always prevent strokes. Urgent medical care is required to prevent permanent injuries. Emergency room staff may perform any of the following to determine whether you’re suffering from stroke and what kind of stroke:
DIAGNOSIS OF STROKE:
Again, time is of the essence. Once the healthcare staff has determined that you are suffering from a stroke and whether your stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or brain bleed (hemorrhagic stroke), they must immediately begin interventions to prevent permanent injuries. These include:
If you believe a loved one has suffered from injuries from a stroke as the result of a health care provider’s actions or inactions, contact VSCP LAW at www.vscplaw.com.
Download our e-book to learn more about delayed diagnosis and a misdiagnosis of a stroke and how to address it.Download Ebook
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