Strokes are not just for old folks anymore

A stroke can occur when part of an artery in the brain becomes narrow or hardened and eventually clogged, restricting or entirely cutting off blood flow to vital brain cells.

by Dr. Denise Grobe — 

An article titled “Strokes rising among teens, young adults,” by Marilynn Marchione, was published online in February 2011 at www.azcentral.com. It cites alarming new studies that show an increase in the number of strokes experienced by young and middle-aged people in the United States. Data from 1994 and 1995 was compared with data from 2006 and 2007. The sharpest increase in stroke (51 percent) was found in men ages 15 to 34. Women in the same age group experienced a 17 percent increase.

A stroke can occur when part of an artery in the brain becomes narrow or hardened and eventually clogged, restricting or entirely cutting off blood flow to vital brain cells. Risk factors include obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking. The results of a stroke can be devastating, ranging from the loss of physical and cognitive function to paralysis and death. Stroke is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

One does not have to think long and hard about why strokes are increasing in young people. Just look around. Obesity is an American epidemic. A busy lifestyle is a convenient excuse to stop by the drive-through for fast food, and leaves little or no time for exercise. Unhealthy alternatives such as alcohol and tobacco are often used to help us relax.

The good news is that risk factors for stroke can be altered. Eating healthy, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking and keeping weight, blood pressure and glucose levels under control will help reduce the chance of having a stroke. It will take some effort, but it is possible.

Health care providers are taught in medical school that the first-line therapies for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and patients at risk for cardiovascular problems are diet and exercise, cessation of smoking and elimination of stress. Unfortunately, many patients do not comply with these recommendations, and in most cases, pharmacologic intervention is inevitable. Part of the problem is lack of follow- up and reluctance or confusion on the part of the patient to assume responsibility for his or her health.

It is important to note that if you want to decrease your risk factors for stroke, you must look for the proper support to make these necessary changes. Many programs are out there, but the most important part of any program is doing it.

To read the article from azcentral.com go to azcentral.com/ news/articles/2011/02/10/ 20110210strokes-rising-among-teens-young-adults.html.

 

Denise Grobe is a naturopathic physician at the Center for True Harmony Wellness & MedicineTM PC in Mesa, Ariz. She specializes in gut health issues, women’s medicine and the FirstLine® Therapy program. 480-539-6646, info@trueharmonywellness.com or www.trueharmonywellness.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 2, April/May 2011.

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