Annually, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Of these, 5 million die and another 5 million are left permanently disabled, placing a burden on family and community. Stroke is uncommon in people under 40 years; when it does occur, the main cause is high blood pressure. However, stroke also occurs in about 8% of children with sickle cell disease.WHO EMRO (World Health Organization Regional Office for the Mediterranean)
Of course, the best thing to do would be to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid the occurrence of a stroke. The most modifiable influences are tobacco use and high blood pressure. It’s estimated that 4/10 people that suffer from a stroke that the incident could have been prevented by regulation of blood pressure. There are two types of stroke; ischemic (where blood vessels are blocked by clots, fatty deposits called plaque, or other particles, thus cutting off oxygen to the brain) and non-ischemic/hemorrhagic (a weak blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain).
So what can we do to help someone if we suspect they are having a stroke? First of all, know the signs of a stroke.
- Loss of facial or limb function (most of the time only one side)
- Slurred speech
- Trouble walking
- See the below video by Dr. Eric Berg for more details.
In Dr. Berg’s video he shares a great acronym: FAST
- Face: If you ask them to smile, one side of the face may droop.
- Arm: Ask them to raise both arms (one may drop).
- Speak: Ask them to repeat a phrase a few times (may not be able to or speech may be slurred). I may also add that their speech may be incoherent.
- Time: there is a short 3-4 hour window to get the individual to the hospital so they can receive anti-clotting medication to restore the blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
CALL FOR FIRST RESPONDERS ASAP!!!
If you feel after this quick assessment that the person you are with could be having a stroke, immediately call 911 (U.S.) or 100 (Israel). Time counts! Do not hesitate to call for first responders! As stated above, there is a window of 3-4 hours, every minute counts. Taking aspirin is not recommended because all strokes are not due to clotting and if it is a non-ischemic stroke (hemorrhagic) it can cause more bleeding in the brain.
How can we prevent a stroke? A healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding smoking and a healthy blood pressure level all can make a world of difference. Here are some diet tips:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: particularly DHA is great for brain protection and repair. It’s great for just normal brain function for adults and helps developing brains for infants even in the womb. It’s been shown to correlate with improved learning ability as well. It also protects against clotting.
- Garlic: great for decreasing blood pressure and overall detox and nutrients
- Vitamin E: (tocopherol version are the best for the anti-oxidant benefits, prevents free-radicals and especially great for the brain due to the oxygen demand)
- Green leafy vegetables: (high in potassium- this helps in lowering blood pressure, supports the blood vessels, prevents clotting)
- Ketones: (the brain loves ketones and a keto-genic diet/low carbs is healthier overall because it helps to prevent insulin resistance and clotting)
- Intermittent Fasting: (helps the body to repair and eat up all of the toxins, old proteins, supports the lining of the arteries)
Omega 3 rich in DHA
I hope that this will not cause you stress but only help you to be more prepared and be able to help someone if the worst should occur such as an incident like this. Also to spread the word to family and friends to help prevent such an incident.