Tag Archives: Stroke

Some Health Quaries & Answers

If the shoe fits
Q: I want to buy a sports shoe but they seem to range in price from less than Rs 500 to Rs 10,000. How do I know which one to buy?


A: When buying a sports shoe it is important to consider what you will be using it for. Is it to walk, run, for serious aerobics or just as a fashion statement?

If it is for exercise then you need to go to a sports store and ask for a shoe designed specifically for the particular activity you wish to do.

Look at a few shoes. Before selecting a shoe:

Look at it head on to make sure it is perfectly symmetrical.

See if the tongue is laced with the shoe. That way it will not slip around placing the eyelets in contact with your foot. That is potentially injurious.

Make sure the sole “gives” by bending the shoe.

There should be a little space between your toe and the tip of the shoe. Shoes do not “loosen” with use. Your foot will get damaged before that happens. Nor will you “grow” into a shoe that is too large.

Buy your shoe in the evening when your foot is slightly swollen from the days activity.

The colour is the least important criteria. With use, all shoes eventually become the same colour.
You may click to see : How to Choose Sports Shoes

Grey smoke
Q: My hair is prematurely grey — I am only 29 years old. My mother says it is because I started smoking in college. Is that true?

A: Your mother is right. The nicotine in cigarettes does cause premature greying. That is however the least of the problems it causes. It also weakens your bones, precipitates heart attacks and causes cancer.

Stroke effect
Q: My father had a stroke (brain attack) and now he mumbles his words. Food drools out of the side of his mouth when he eats. He also cannot close one eye.

A: Your father has lost the use of one side of his body. Paralysis of the eyelid muscles prevents him from closing his eye fully. Similarly, the muscles for speech and swallowing are affected.

He will improve to some extent with physiotherapy. You need to make sure that he does not have a second stroke by treating any pre-existing disease like diabetes, hypertension or high lipids that caused the first stroke.

You need to protect his eye by closing it manually, placing a gauze piece over it and taping it shut with medical tape.

Facial paralysis
Q: My forty-year-old aunt developed isolated paralysis of one side of the face. She opted for ayurvedic treatment and recovered. She is not diabetic nor does she have high blood pressure. What was wrong with her?

A: She seems to have developed a condition called Bell’s palsy, paralysis of the facial nerve. Quite often it is due to an infection with the Herpes virus. In 80 per cent cases recovery is spontaneous and complete. This is probably the category to which your aunt, fortunately for her, belonged.

Lens safety
Q: I want to use a pair of contact lenses to change the colour of my eyes. Is it safe?


A: These are called novelty lenses as they only have cosmetic value. If novelty contact lenses are not properly fitted or if care instructions are ignored, they can cause corneal damage and loss of sight. Eye infections can occur if the lenses are not thoroughly sterilised prior to each use.

This seems a high price to pay for an altered appearance. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Shampoo time
Q: How often should I wash my hair?


A: It depends on how dirty your hair becomes, but three times a week is about average. There is no need to use a lot of shampoo. About a Re 1 coin sized dollop is sufficient.
You may click to see : How often should I wash my hair?

Fast food
Q: My son loves instant noodles. He eats them 3-4 times a day. He is 4 years old.


A: Noodles are a good snack once or twice a week, but they should not substitute for good wholesome home cooked food. Some times the instant variety of noodles contains preservatives or ajinomoto. Both these ingredients are best avoided in children’s food.

Rash shave
Q: I got a shave at a barber shop and now, after two weeks, I have developed boils and rashes all over my beard area.

A: This is a very common infection which is either due to the bacteria S. aureus, or a fungus or due to ingrowth of thick beard.

It responds well to hot fomentation, cleansing with a bactericidal soap and local application of ointment. A dermatologist can usually determine accurately whether the infection is fungal or bacterial and prescribe the appropriate ointment. Applying steroid cream will worsen the condition. It usually clears up in a few weeks but can recur. It is probably better to shave at home.

Source : The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

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Brain attack (Stroke)

 

An elderly person’s worst nightmare is suffering a stroke. It conjures up visions of being confined to bed with the inability to move or speak and, worst of all, loss of bowel and bladder control. A cerebral stroke occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain stops for any reason. Though strokes can occur at any age, they are more common after 65 years. With the increase in life expectancy in India, the incidence of stroke has doubled from 175 to 350 per 1,00,000.

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Although it is uncommon for strokes to occur in young people, it can happen in youngsters born with a malformed blood vessel in the brain, brain tumours or those who suffer severe dehydration. Also, at any age, irregular heartbeats can lead to small clots in the brain called emboli, which can block vessels. The chances of having a stroke increase in those above 65 years if they have diabetes, hypertension, obesity, elevated blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), are smokers, take more than 60ml of alcohol a day and do not have an active life.

Pregnant women can also suffer a stroke because of an increase in clotting tendency . In fact, the number of such women having a stroke has increased internationally. This upsurge has been blamed on older age at first pregnancy, an inactive life prior to and during pregnancy and obesity.

The manifestations of a stroke are giddiness, weakness or paralysis of muscle groups, blurring of vision, inability to speak or loss of consciousness. This is followed by paralysis of a limb, or a side of the body. A stroke occurs when blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off, either as a result of a block or a bleed.
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Usually, there are a few warning TIA (transient ischaemic attacks) before a stroke or cerebral attack. There can be sudden blurring of vision, inability to speak or weakness of a limb. These signs are due to spasm of a diseased vessel in the brain or to small amounts of blood leaking. Many people do not take these symptoms seriously since recovery is spontaneous and complete. But appropriate preventive treatment at this point can prevent a full-blown stroke.

In the absence of treatment, TIAs are soon followed by the real thing — a stroke. The devastation caused by it depends on the extent of damage to the brain. This in turn depends on the site and size of the block or leak. Thirty three percent of stroke victims recover, 33 per cent have permanent disability and another 33 per cent die. Cerebral stroke is responsible for 1.2 per cent of the recorded deaths in India.

The most common effect is paralysis of a part of the face or one side of the body. Muscles in the throat and mouth lose co-ordination, making it difficult for the person to swallow and talk. Speech may become slurred and distorted. If the speech centre in the brain is affected the person may understand everything that is said but be unable to reply. Memory loss may make recollection of present events a blur. Quite often though past memories are intact. A person may also lose the ability to make judgements, reason and understand concepts. This makes them appear unnecessarily stubborn. A strange numbness or pricking sensations may occur in the paralysed limb. Since all these effects are because of damage to the brain, they are difficult to treat with medication.

All injuries heal given time and treatment, the brain is no exception. It is capable of rewiring itself so that lost skills are regained to an extent. A person who is predominantly right handed can learn to write with his left hand. Physiotherapy makes the paralysed muscles flexible and stronger. Since a few muscle spindles may be still active, they can be retrained to enlarge and take over the function of the paralysed muscles. The bladder can be trained to empty itself every 3-4 hours. By speaking slowly and using simple sentences, it is often possible to be understood. The brain can be stimulated with puzzles and poetry to enable faster healing.

Better still, try to prevent a stroke. :-

• Keep diabetes and hypertension in control.

• Take medications to reduce lipid levels.

• Take aspirin and clopidogrel, usually prescribed to diabetics and those with high pressure, regularly to prevent a stroke.

Walk, swim or cycle for at least 30 minutes a day.

• Stimulate yourself intellectually by learning new skills and doing puzzles.

When it comes to brain circuits, the correct mantra is “use it or lose it!”

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Turmeric is now being Used to Repair Stroke Damage

Scientists have created a new molecule from curcumin, the key chemical component of the spice turmeric. In laboratory experiments, the molecule was shown to affect the mechanisms that protect and regenerate brain cells after a stroke.
Picture of turmeric
The new curcumin compound, called CNB-001, actually repairs stroke damage at the molecular level.

Physorg reports:
“Those who cook Indian, Thai, Malay and Persian dishes know turmeric well for its zesty flavor, use in curries and for the rich color it imparts to food. Turmeric also has a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine.”
Source Physorg February 10, 2011

Posted By Dr. Mercola | March 02 2011

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Statins May Raise Stroke Risk in Some

People who have had a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain should avoid taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, U.S. researchers said
. The drugs increase the risk of a second stroke in these patients.

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It was especially true of people who had strokes in one of their brain’s four lobes, which have a greater chance of recurrence than strokes that occur deep in the brain.

People who have a stroke in one of their lobes have a 22 percent risk of a second stroke when they take statins, compared with a 14 percent risk among those not taking a statin.

According to Reuters:
“The researchers said it is not clear how statins increase the bleeding risk in these patients. It may be having low cholesterol increases the risk of bleeding in the brain, or it may be that statins affect clotting factors in the blood that increase the risk of a brain hemorrhage in these patients.”


Resources:

Reuters January 10, 2011
Archives of Neurology January 10, 2011

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Vitamin D Deficiency Doubles Risk Of Stroke in Whites

Low levels of vitamin D, the essential nutrient obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, doubles the risk of stroke in whites, but not in blacks, according to a new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins.

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Stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death, killing more than 140,000 Americans annually and temporarily or permanently disabling over half a million when there is a loss of blood flow to the brain.

Researchers say their findings back up evidence from earlier work at Johns Hopkins linking vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of death, heart disease and peripheral artery disease in adults.

The Hopkins team says its results fail to explain why African Americans, who are more likely to be vitamin D deficient due to their darker skin pigmentation’s ability to block the sun’s rays, also suffer from higher rates of stroke. Of the 176 study participants known to have died from stroke within a 14-year period, 116 were white and 60 were black. Still, African Americans had a 65 percent greater likelihood of suffering such a severe bleeding in or interruption of blood flow to the brain than whites, when age, other risk factors for stroke, and vitamin D deficiency were factored into their analysis.

“Higher numbers for hypertension and diabetes definitely explain some of the excess risk for stroke in blacks compared to whites, but not this much risk,” says study co-lead investigator and preventive cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute. “Something else is surely behind this problem. However, don’t blame vitamin D deficits for the higher number of strokes in blacks.”

Nearly 8,000 initially healthy men and women of both races were involved in the latest analysis, part of a larger, ongoing national health survey, in which the researchers compared the risk of death from stroke between those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D to those with higher amounts. Among them, 6.6 percent of whites and 32.3 percent of blacks had severely low blood levels of vitamin D, which the experts say is less than 15 nanograms per milliliter.

“It may be that blacks have adapted over the generations to vitamin D deficiency, so we are not going to see any compounding effects with stroke,” says Michos, who notes that African Americans have adapted elsewhere to low levels of the bone-strengthening vitamin, with fewer incidents of bone fracture and greater overall bone density than seen in Caucasians.

“In blacks, we may not need to raise vitamin D levels to the same level as in whites to minimize their risk of stroke” says Michos, who emphasizes that clinical trials are needed to verify that supplements actually do prevent heart attacks and stroke. In her practice, she says, she monitors her patients’ levels of the key nutrient as part of routine blood work while also testing for other known risk factors for heart disease and stroke, including blood pressure, glucose and lipid levels.

Michos cautions that the number of fatal strokes recorded in blacks may not have been statistically sufficient to find a relationship with vitamin D deficits. And she points out that the study only assessed information on deaths from stroke, not the more common “brain incidents” of stroke, which are usually non-fatal, or even mini-strokes, whose symptoms typically dissipate in a day or so. She says the team’s next steps will be to evaluate cognitive brain function as well as non-fatal and transient strokes and any possible tie-ins to nutrient deficiency.

Besides helping to keep bones healthy, vitamin D plays an essential role in preventing abnormal cell growth, and in bolstering the body’s immune system. The hormone-like nutrient also controls blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, essential chemicals in the body. Shortages of vitamin D have also been tied to increased rates of breast cancer and depression in the elderly.

Michos recommends that people maintain good vitamin D levels by eating diets rich in such fish as salmon and tuna, consuming vitamin-D fortified dairy products, and taking vitamin D supplements. She also promotes brief exposure daily to the sun’s vitamin D-producing ultraviolet light. And to those concerned about the cancer risks linked to too much time spent in the sun, she says as little as 10 to 15 minutes of daily exposure is enough during the summer months.

If vitamin supplements are used, Michos says that daily doses between 1,000 and 2,000 international units are generally safe and beneficial for most people, but that people with the severe vitamin D deficits may need higher doses under close supervision by their physician to avoid possible risk of toxicity.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) previously suggested that an adequate daily intake of vitamin D is between 200 and 600 international units. However, Michos argues that this may be woefully inadequate for most people to raise their vitamin D blood levels to a healthy 30 nanograms per milliliter. The IOM has set up an expert panel to review its vitamin D guidelines, with new recommendations expected by the end of the year. Previous results from the same nationwide survey showed that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women have unhealthy amounts of vitamin D, with nutrient levels below 28 nanograms per milliliter.

Source
:Elements4Health

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