WOMEN’S HEALTH: Reduce Your Risk of Having a Stroke

wh-may-_3.jpgA stroke, once it is happening, is a serious medical emergency, requiring immediate medical attention. It actually takes years to create, however, the conditions leading to one. What can you start doing now to reduce your risk?

There are two different kinds of stroke. The first is and most common is the ischemic stroke, in which one of the brain’s blood vessels becomes blocked, cutting off the oxygen supply to part of the brain. The second kind is the hemorrhagic, in which there is a tear to one of the vessels, resulting in bleeding into the brain. In either case, brain tissue is damaged. This is not good. On the brighter side, what are preventative measures you can take in this area of women’s health?

First of all, it is important to know the immediate warning signs that a stroke is occurring, and to go to the hospital immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Abrupt onset of numbness or weakness in the arm, leg, or face, especially on one side.
  • Abrupt onset of nausea, vomiting, and fever.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding words or simple sentences.
  • Abrupt onset of blurred vision or decreased vision in one or both eyes.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Sudden paralysis of part of the body.
  • Sudden intense headache.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience any of these. If you are having a stroke, once you are under medical care whatever is needed to prevent further damage will be done.

OK! So what can you do to minimize your risk of this dramatic and serious occurrence?

  • Stop smoking.
  • Get your weight into a healthy range if you are obese.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise for thirty minutes a day. Even walking will help.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake to one or two drinks a day. One or two drinks are actually beneficial, while more than that is harmful.
  • Eat fish regularly, or take fish oil supplements.

The idea that consuming fish and fish oil reduces your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease is backed by many research studies. It is generally believed that the protective quality of fish oils come from its ability to reduce the tendency of blood to clot, thereby increasing its viscosity. Fish and fish oil are also reported to lower blood pressure and improve the health of the blood, inhibiting or suppressing the formation of cells within the blood that can lead to a stroke.

There are many fish oil supplements out there. It is well worth while to take the time to find a good one for yourself. Take one if you are not eating any fish, and decrease your risk of stroke — this area of women’s health must be paid attention, to ensure a long and healthy life.

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