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How to Prevent Stroke

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you ever heard of a cerebrovascular accident? If not, then this lesson is for you. Even if you have, perhaps you'd like to learn how to prevent a stroke? If so, then this lesson is for you too.

Breath and Death

Imagine that all of a sudden you find yourself in a situation where there is little to no air around you. At first, you'd begin to feel like your body is giving out. You'd be gasping for air, you'd feel woozy, you'd begin to faint. In short, your body will begin to malfunction. If you still don't get any air after that, you will die.

This is pretty similar, except on a grander scale, to what happens during a stroke, except to your brain cells.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke, more technically called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is an inadequate or inappropriate supply of blood, and thus the oxygen carried by blood, to the brain. This results in brain cell malfunction and brain cell death. By the way, cerebro- refers to the brain and -vascular refers to blood vessels.

A stroke can be hemorrhagic or ischemic in nature. A hemorrhagic stroke refers to a kind of stroke that stems from a ruptured or leaky blood vessel in the brain. Hemo- means blood and rrhagia- refers to an excessive and unusual flow or discharge of something.

The other major form of stroke is ischemic stroke. This stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain with blood and oxygen is blocked by something like a blood clot. If it's blocked, nothing can get past the blockage and so the brain cells found after the blockage don't receive enough oxygen and begin to malfunction and die. Ischemia is a word that means there is an inadequate supply of blood and thus oxygen to a tissue or organ as a result of obstructed or constricted vasculature.

A stroke can lead to the paralysis or numbness of the arms, legs, or face as well as difficulty walking and seeing among many other things.

How to Prevent a Stroke

Since that would be bad, it's best never to have a stroke in the first place. While it's impossible to ensure that you'll never have one for certain, you can do a lot to ensure you minimize your chances of ever having a stroke. Such things are collectively called preventative measures.

One thing you must do is reduce your blood pressure to less than 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). This can be achieved by exercising more, avoiding high-cholesterol foods, and reducing your intake of salt.

Speaking of these foods. Obesity has also been linked to an increased chance of stroke through numerous factors, including the buildup of plaque in the arteries. By limiting the number of calories you eat, avoiding as much saturated fat as possible, and exercising more, you can decrease the chances that you'll have a stroke.

If you're a heavy drinker or a smoker of any kind, then you need to think twice about what you're doing. More than two drinks per day is considered to be dangerous and may significantly increase your chances of having a stroke. Smoking has also been associated with increased chances of having a stroke by increasing the buildup of plaque in your arteries just like obesity.

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