One of the major causes of saviour illness and long term physical impairments prevalent in the aged community can be attributed to ‘Stroke’. A Stroke is a medical condition that occurs due to shortage or interrupted supply of blood to the brain. This in turn causes deprivation of oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain cells creating extensive damage, which may subsequently, even cause their death. A stroke may arise due to two reasons –
A blocked artery causing an ‘Ischemic Stroke’. A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) causes a temporary blockage blood supply to the brain but does not cause permanent damage.Bursting or leaking of blood vessels leading to a ‘Haemorrhagic Stroke’.
There are numerous neuro-protective drugs and diets that provide the required healing after a stroke. Simultaneously there are proactive measures that may be taken for preventing a stroke from occurring itself through foods and health supplements.
- Health conditions like increased blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels( high “bad” cholesterol(LDL)/ low “good” cholesterol(HDL) )
- People with diseases like Atrial Fibrillation, Atherosclerosis or Carotid Artery disease or a family history of these conditions.
- Unhealthy Lifestyles with little/ no exercising and Smoking habits
- Obesity/Over Weight issues
- Imbalanced and unhealthy diet that has more trans-fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar
- Age related factors wherein the risk of stroke potentially increases after age of fifty five years. Also, its probability of occurrence becomes more with each additional decade of life.
Major symptoms that depict that stroke has occurred include-
- Drooping in the face including uneven smile
- Difficulties in speech(slur/incomprehension/inability to respond to questions or even repeat a simple sentence)
- Physical weakness in the arm including any signs of numbness particularly on one side Other symptoms include
- Blurred vision/involuntary eye movements
- Paralysis/Numbness/Pricking sensation in any body part
- Dizziness/Loss of balance in walking(vertigo)
- Unusually high headache
- Mental confusion/loss of memory/changes in behavioural patterns
- Inability to speak, slurred speech
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Stiffness /rigidity in muscles
- If any of these symptoms occur, it is crucial to rush that person to a hospital as soon as possible for ensuring prompt treatment to prevent permanent thereby saving a life or preventing long time disability.
Stroke results in physical disabilities, speech difficulties and/or cognitive problems. It is interesting to note that stroke recovery timeline for each patient is different and depends on its intensity, compliance to rehabilitation mechanisms and their own self-motivation. However, apart from prescribed medication, food plays an enormous role in reducing the risk factors and can even improve the body’s ability in healing after a stroke. Details are enumerated here-
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) plays the dual role of enhancing both body immunity and protects arteries from further damage after a stroke occurs. Also it reduces plaque accumulation thereby preventing subsequent attacks.
- Vitamin B(Niacin) helps recover brain functions after stroke and increases good cholesterol levels
Co-enzyme Q 10 that has anti-oxidant properties and reduces tissue damage in strokes and prevents cardio vascular diseases thereby sustaining subsequent attacks.Mineral supplements of Selenium boosts immunity in the body and brain so that it can heal to its maximum ability post stroke occurrence. It is found in flaxseeds, salmon and mackerel. Deficiency of Selenium causes increased plaque in arteries thereby increasing probability of stroke.Omega 3 fatty acids (as in fish oil) reduces triglyceride levels, decreases mortality risks after heart attacks, prevents development of new plaque deposits in arteries and decreases inflammation enabling healing process.
Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Proteolytic enzymes and Probiotics also aid in quick recovery from stroke. As a precautionary measure, physicians must be consulted before these diets and supplements are taken.
Recovery from stroke could involve a combination of medication, physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and a balanced diet of whole grain foods and diet supplements which make body healthier and takes recuperation to higher levels.