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Posts Tagged ‘stroke prevention’

New Stroke Prevention Guidelines Designed for Women

March 13, 2014

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have released new guidelines specifically geared toward women to prevent stroke. Women and men have similar risk factors, but women have separate issues that relate to hormonal factors and lifestyle choices.

Each year, there are 800,000 strokes and more than half of these occur in women. It is the third leading cause of death for women in the United States, with 3.8 million women living after suffering one.

It is recommended that anyone over the age of 50 or anyone over the age of 40 with risk factors should have a stroke screening annually. For a full list of risk factors visit our stroke screening and symptoms page  and schedule a screening online with us today.


Women’s Stroke Risks

Certain risk factors are higher in women than they are in men; these include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, emotional stress, depression and migraine with aura. The new guidelines highlight women’s risk factors and how to lower and treat them.

  • Women who have a history of high blood pressure before they become pregnant should be considered for a low-dose aspirin and/or a calcium supplement therapy to lower their pre-eclampsia risk.
  • Women who have pre-eclampsia have double the risk of stroke and four times the risk for developing high blood pressure. Be proactive with your doctor and discuss a stroke risk assessment.
  • Women should be screened for high blood pressure before starting a birth control regimen, the combination of the two raises stroke risk.
  • Women who suffer from migraine headaches with aura and smoke should quit to avoid a higher stroke risk.
  • Women over the age of 75 should have an atrial fibrillation screening since it is linked to a high stroke risk.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle and participate in regular physical activity with a diet high in vegetables, fruits, grains, olive oil and low in saturated fat.


Recognize a Stroke Using F.A.S.T.

Around 30% of people who suffer a stroke have a permanent disability after. These disabilities range from an inability to speak, unable to walk and affect cognitive abilities. Identifying a stroke as soon as it happens can help ensure that the patient gets the treatment they need as soon as possible. Here are the signs to look for:

Face drooping: Look for one side of their face that is drooping down or ask if it is numb. You can tell by asking the person to smile.

Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask them to raise both of the arms up, watch for one arm to drift down.

Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred or are they unable to speak? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence, and check to make sure they say it correctly.

Time to call 911: If they are showing any of these symptoms call 911 and get them to a hospital, even if some of these symptoms go away.

Texans Coach Suffers a Mini-Stroke

November 7, 2013

Texans coach, Gary Kubiak, suffered a mini-stroke during the game on Sunday. His collapse on the field was immediately noticed by medical staff and he was taken to the hospital. Doctors say he is recovering nicely.

I was struck by a quote from his doctor published in the Houston Chronicle, “I use transient ischemic attack and stroke interchangeably because they’re both the same pathological process, they’re both strokes,” said Dr. James Grotta, chairman of neurology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. “A transient ischemic stroke is just a stroke that fortunately got better. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen again with less fortunate results.”

Too often, people believe that waiting for that mini-stroke (a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA) is a good idea because that means you are really at risk. As we can see in this case, a mini-stroke is a serious problem, not just a warning sign of something bigger.

In 2010, the Canadian Stroke Network did a presentation at an American Heart Association Conference specifically about how TIA is not a Mini-Problem. TIAs, in and of themselves, cause deficits in brain function, including in what we would call “executive skills” such as reasoning and abstract thinking. TIAs are a sign of brain injury, not just a warning sign of an oncoming bigger problem.

I am glad to see Coach Kubiak’s doctors talking about this and using this moment to educate people about stroke. As always, at Life Line Screening, we believe stroke prevention is the best approach.

We wish Coach Kubiak a quick recovery, and know all his fans are rooting for him.

Your Weekly Inspiration: Love Yourself

August 12, 2013

If you don’t love yourself, how can you be healthy?

It takes a love for yourself to fully enact a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent disease. Preventive measures have the power to lower your risk for several serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If there’s one person who can keep your health strong by practicing prevention, it’s you.

Take this week’s inspiration into consideration. If you love yourself first, you will be more likely to take care of your health. And if you’re taking care of your health, you are less likely to suffer from a debilitating and life-altering disease. So, in a sense, everything will fall into place.

inspiration: love yourself

Don’t Want to Provoke a Stroke? Avoid These 6 Mistakes

July 17, 2013

While it may not exhibit many early warning signs, stroke is highly preventable. Many of the main risk factors for stroke, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking can all be controlled through the things you do and the foods you eat.

If you want to avoid ever being in the hospital or undergoing surgery for a life-threatening stroke, there are certain things you should dodge at all costs. Don’t provoke a stroke. Shy away from these mistakes to increase your chances of living a stroke-free and healthy life.

You don’t get your heart pumping.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make that can incite a stroke is not exercising. If you never get your heart pumping with healthy cardio or moderate exercise, you’re already increasing your risk of stroke. Your heart and blood vessels need exercise to stay strong. Make an effort to take part in some form of exercise, like brisk walking, at least three times a week.

You don’t know the difference between sad and depressed.
Being temporarily sad and seriously depressed are two very different things, and if you ignore the latter, you may be increasing your risk of stroke. In one study women who were diagnosed with depression had a 29 percent higher chance of having a stroke. This is because depression tends to increase smoking, weight gain, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and diabetes. If you think you may be depressed, don’t ignore it – talk to your doctor.

You don’t get enough sleep.
Are you getting less than seven hours or more than 10 hours of sleep every night? Too little or too much sleep can put you at greater risk for stroke. Shoot for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. You’ll get the rest your body and mind need without overdoing it.

You ignore strange symptoms.
If your heart feels like it’s fluttering or beating irregularly, don’t ignore it. It could be atrial fibrillation, a serious risk factor for stroke. These irregular heartbeats are sometimes accompanied by shortness of breath, lightheadedness and chest pain, so if you experience these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Atrial fibrillation can be treated with anticlotting medication to help reduce stroke risk.

You get angry often.
Whether your anger levels fall at slightly irritated to aggressively irate, studies have linked anger to a higher risk of stroke. Researchers in one study found that people who scored higher for antagonistic traits in a personality test had greater thickening of the neck arteries (a risk factor for stroke) than people with less antagonistic traits.

You don’t eat enough potassium.
One study found that a diet rich in potassium can reduce stroke risk by 20 percent. This includes foods like sweet potatoes, raisins and bananas. Other good sources include most fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry and dairy products.

Stroke is a serious, sometimes fatal condition. Don’t aggravate it. You have some power to lower your risk of stroke, so take advantage of the opportunity to avoid stroke-provoking mistakes like the ones listed above. In the long run, it can be worth it.

Learn more about preventive measures for health conditions like stroke, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis from Life Line Screening now. Sign up for our free eNewsletter for more information like this.

Friday Roundup: FAST Stroke Signs, Depression and Alzheimer’s, and More

May 10, 2013

Here at Life Line Screening, we firmly believe that the power of prevention can change lives for the better. Being knowledgeable about your health is a great way to keep it strong. Below, read some of the latest headlines concerning healthy living, nutrition, and disease prevention.


Back to Basics: FAST Stroke Signs

May is National Stroke Awareness month, and even though many of us have probably heard of the most common stroke risk factors and warning signs, it’s important to be reminded. Catching a stroke early can drastically improve a person’s chances of recovering without life-altering, catastrophic consequences.

When the brain experiences a lack of blood supply because of a blocked artery, a stroke may occur. By following the FAST tool, you can help detect the symptoms and responsiveness of someone suffering a stroke.

F = Face: Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven? Does one part of the smile droop?
A = Arms: Can the person raise both of their arms? See if one arm is weaker than the other.
S = Speech: Do the person’s words slur together? Can you understand what they are saying?
T = Time = If you notice any of the above stroke signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read more about stroke warning signs and risk factors here:


Depression and Alzheimer’s Development

One new study found a link between depression and later development of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is a condition caused by reduced or blocked blood flow to the brain. This can deprive the brain of essential nutrients and oxygen, killing brain cells.

Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the analysis combines 23 prior students of 50,000 older adults over five years. Results showed that the participants who suffered from depression were 65 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and more than twice as likely to develop vascular dementia.

“We think depression is toxic to the brain, and if you’re walking around with some mild brain damage, it will add to the degenerative process,” said co-author of the study, Meryl Butters, Ph.D., in a Psych Central article. Read the full article here.


Sugar-Free and Fat-Free: Is it Really Better?

Eating healthier means avoiding foods loaded with sugar and fat, right? Not necessarily. A new article from U.S. News reveals that even if you eat foods labeled with “sugar-free” or “fat-free” claims, their substitutes may not be all that better for you.

Sugar-free foods usually replace the refined sugar with artificial sweeteners. Although artificial sweeteners don’t have any calories, they’re actually sweeter than regular sugar. This can confuse your body, which thinks because it’s sweet, it should have calories. Because of this, your body can go looking for calories later, making it easier to binge.

Fat-free foods aren’t necessarily better for you, either. Fat-free foods, such as fat-free salad dressings, replace the fat with sugar. When you eat sugar, it eventually gets stored in your body as fat, so technically you’re still eating fat. However, keep in mind that not all fats are bad for you – monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that your body needs.

Read more from the article here.


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