Can stokes be prevented through proper diet and exercise?

 

A stroke happens when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off resulting in cell death.  A stroke can cause permanent brain damage or result in death.  There are two types of strokes:

Ischemic Stoke

  • Caused by arteries being blocked or narrowed.

Hemorrhagic stroke

  • Caused when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or ruptures.

How can you reduce your risk of having a stroke?

Exercise

  • Work out or simply walk for at least 30 mins a day.

Eat better

  • More fruits and vegetables 
  • Choose lean proteins and high fiber foods
  • Stay away from saturated fats
  • Cut down on salt intake and processed foods

Stroke Prevention In the Media

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet and incidence of stoke: Results from 2 prospective cohorts

  • This article examines whether adhering to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. 
  • The DASH diet consists of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products and has reduced amounts of saturated fat, total fat, and chole.
  • This diet has been known to reduce hypertension which is one of the risk factors for having a stroke.
  • The results of the study was conducted on a cohort of 74,404 Swedish men and women between the ages of 45-83 years old with no history of stroke.
  • The results showed that those in the highest quartile of the modified DASH diet had a 14% reduced risk of ischemic stroke compared to those in the lowest quartile. Also, high adherence to the diet was also associated with a lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage, it however had no association with subarachnoid hemorrhage. 
  • This concludes that a diet like the DASH which is recommended by some health organizations can reduce the risk on ischemic stroke.

Diet for Stroke Prevention

This article is about the importance of diet and lifestyle in stroke prevention. According to Spence, “poor lifestyle choices account for more than half of strokes.”  he writes that people who don’t smoke, have moderate alcohol intake, a body mass less than 25%, exercise 30 minutes daily, and eat healthy have an 80% reduction of stroke compared to those that who do none of these. Some of the things Spence addresses in this article include harmful dietary trends, diets associated with stroke prevention, certain foods related to stroke lastly, he makes recommendations for those at risk for stroke.  

 

This article also concluded that coffee contrary to popular belief is beneficial and not harmful in stroke prevention.  This is because according to Spence both coffee and tea reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes which are risk factors of stroke.  He also states that green tea lowers blood pressure, reduces LDL cholesterol, and improves endothelial function. 

Stroke and nutrition: A review of studies

 

  • This article analyzes previous studies done that showed a relationship between diet and stroke prevention.
  • The authors explain why certain nutrients affect the risk of strokes: such as fats and cholesterol, antioxidants and vitamins, salt, sugar, potassium, carbohydrates, etc.
  • They also list and explain which foods and drinks effect the risk of stroke.  Some of these foods included meats, fruits and vegetables, tea, and soft drinks.
  • The results of this study showed that adhering to a healthier diet such as the Mediterranean or DASH can reduce the risk of stroke.  

This video supports the claims made in the above articles on stoke prevention through a balanced diet.  It provides examples of foods that have been scientifically proven to help reduce Stroke risk.

In this video Dr. Lee Schwamm, Chief of MGH Stroke Service,  explains the importance of exercise in stroke prevention and how to over come barriers when it comes to exercising by sharing his own exercise habits and routine.

Other Media Findings That Contradict This Information

Exercise Does Not Prevent Blocked Arteries, Study Finds

  • This article explains the findings of a long term study conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA.
  • The study included over 3,000 participants, this included black and white men and women between 18 and 30.
  • The participants were followed-up for 25 years, until 2011. They underwent eight examinations over this period and filled in questionnaires reporting their levels of physical activity.
  • To their surprise while researchers expected to find that those with higher physic al activity levers would have a reduces risk off CAD the fin dings were contradictory to this.
  • The results of the study concluded that white men who exercise three times above the U.S. national guidelines for working out (150 minutes per week) are 86% more likely than black men, and those who exercise less, to develop a buildup of plaque in their hearts by the time they’re middle aged.

This study goes against the information provided in  the previous pieces of media and in most peoples belief that exercise is good and helps keep people healthy and prevention disease.  This article has many limitations and I don’t believe this in formation is reliable.  It has been published in credible sources such are the new York daily news however, requires further investigation.  The study was only shows the correlation between white man and black black men’s likely hood go getting CAC.  This means further research should be done to clarify the role of race in the risks for CAC in people with high phial activity levels. Maintaining a proper diet and exercising regularly has been proven on many occasions to prevent disease including those that increase risk of stoke such as diabetes, CAD, obesity, and hypertension.  There is more liable information that proves this fact than that which doesn’t.

 

References

Larsson, S. C., PHD, Wallin A., MSC, & Wolk, A., DMSC. (n.d.). Dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet and incidence of stroke. Retrieved from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.012675

Spence, J. D. (2018). Diet for stroke prevention. Stroke and Vascular Neurology, 3(0), 44–50. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoah&AN=45910967&site=ehost-live

Foroughi, M., Akhavanzanjani, M., Maghsoudi, Z., Ghiasvand, R., Khorvash, F., & Askari, G. (2013, May). Stroke and nutrition: A review of studies. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678213/

Cohut, M. (2017, October 18). Exercise does not prevent blocked arteries, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319781.php

 

 

 

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