Monday, March 12, 2012

Stroke Prevention: How to Create Your Strategy

It's one of the worst fears - that the niggling little headache is really the beginning of something horrendous - a stroke. You begin picturing how you'll manage if you're paralyzed, unable to speak, unable to walk or even more, or worse - you'll end up dead.

Statistically speaking, it's entirely possible - after all, strokes are one of the leading causes of death. Referred to in medical parlance as "cerebral vascular accidents, or CVA's, and now often called "brain attacks", by whatever name they are labeled, they leave in their wake a path of devastation, disability and death. In the United States, strokes are the leading cause of adult disability. And, they're on the rise. About three quarters of a million occur each year and one third of these people die.

Who in their right mind would sign up for such a fate? Clearly, putting a good stroke prevention strategy in place is a smart move. But what to do?

First, understand what stroke is: The arteries going to your brain from your heart and the veins that return it are like a hose carrying fluid (blood). Strokes can occur either because of a problem in the hose, such as it leaking or breaking, or a problem that blocks the flow of the fluid. Therefore your stroke prevention strategy needs to have two aspects:

  • keeping the internal "hoses" in strong, open and in good repair, and
  • keeping the fluid moving through them thin enough to flow well not to create blockages.

To keep the "hoses" strong and in good repair, certain nutrients are key. Since arterial walls are made of connective tissue, health practitioners may recommend products that help build, repair and strengthen connective tissue, such as;

  • magnesium, which helps relax constricted smooth muscle inside the arterial "hoses"
  • whole food concentrate vitamin E, or
  • products rich in the "P' factors of the vitamin C complex, such as bioflavonoids
  • a high quality omega -3 oil that will pick up and carry minerals out of your and allow them to either be used or eliminated instead of settling in and hardening your arteries - a clear set up for a stroke.
  • herbs that strengthen connective tissue, such as Gotu Kola
  • dietary changes that reduce inflammation, which narrows the internal open space (lumen) of the "hose".

To keep the fluid moving through the arterial "hoses"and thin enough to flow readily. This means creating a strategy that prevents your platelets - blood cells that play a critical role in bleeding - from becoming 'sticky' and developing into clots. Once clots form, they block the flow inside the hose (arterial flow), cutting off the blood supply to your brain and resulting in the second kind of stroke.

Many health practitioners have had excellent success with nutritional products that assist protein digestion, Typically these protein digesters, when used as digestive aids, are taken with meals. However, when taken for stroke prevention, they should be taken between meals, on an empty stomach. How does this work?

Since clots are made of the protein fibrin, the enzymes in protein digesters help break down the fibrin-based clots and plaque in human arteries. This has been demonstrated to work in rabbits, where the product used was bromelain, an extract from pineapple that helps break down protein.

When poor arterial flow results from the body having difficulty recycling its fluid wastes, there can be a number of factors at play. Here are some of them along with strategies that can address them:

1. Poor digestion in the stomach, suggesting that dietary changes may be needed so that foods ingested are those that benefit your particular body. Digestive aids may also need to be taken with meals;

2. Clogged kidneys that are having difficulty filtering wastes, suggesting a need for nutritional and herbal products that help break down the molecules that are clogging the tiny filtration tissues of the kidneys;

3. Toxic bowel, one of the factors at play when blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are high, suggesting a need for products that acidify the intestines, increase presence of healthy "bugs" or flora that clean up the environment, high chlorophyll-containing products (especially because they neutralize the highly toxic guanidine produced in the toxic bowel, etc.;

4. Too much calcium in the blood stream rather than in the bones and tissues where it is needed, suggesting omega 3 fatty acid support, or possibly nutritional support for the parathyroid gland;

5. Old, indigestible iron in the blood, suggesting a need for products high in phosphorus and other particular minerals that tend to alkalinize the body and remove the iron;

6. Stone formation, which is the body's way of attempting to remove from circulation materials such as calcium, iron, protein (uric acid), bile, metals, drugs, and junk food and synthetic vitamins. Stone formation suggests the need for a combination of products that may include choline, phosphorus, and bile thinners; and

7. Chemical contamination, which thickens and slows blood flow, as in mercury toxicity (secondary to leaking silver amalgam dental fillings, or consuming contaminated fish, for example), pesticide residue, etc. This situation suggests strategies that support the body in cleaning up the contamination, which need to be targeted to the specific contamination.

Note: these strategies are presented as summaries for educational purposes only and are not intended as substitutes for medical care. Always consult your health practitioner before embarking on a course of action. The best stroke prevention strategy is one that is both informed and targeted, meaning it's based not only on knowledge about strokes and their treatment in general, but also about your body in particular. Making such an investment could save your life.

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