Chapter: Diseases of The Brain and Nervous System(A Health Education Guide): Paralysis - Stroke

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Prevention of a stroke

Arteriosclerosis develops gradually and is a slowly progressive disease. The above mentioned risk factors can increase the speed and extent of damage.

Prevention of a stroke :

i.               Arteriosclerosis develops gradually and is a slowly progressive disease. The above mentioned risk factors can increase the speed and extent of damage. This can cause a lot of damage. In order to avoid this, obesity should be prevented by taking a proper nutritious diet. Tobacco and smoking should be stopped.

ii.               Blood Pressure: Blood pressure should be regularly checked and if it is high, proper medication should be taken to keep it under control. Even a normal person should intermittently monitor one’s blood pressure, especially if symptoms like headache, dizziness, vertigo, and anxiety occur. Even if a patient has come for any other disease or ailment, according to a notification of the National Stroke Association, it is the duty of the doctor to check the patient’s blood pressure. Regular check-up of blood pressure will prevent heart disease, paralysis and kidney diseases. Ideally, systolic blood pressure should be around 130 to 140 while the diastolic blood pressure should be maintained at 80 to 90. Time and again it has been proved that by merely controlling blood pressure alone, 40 to 50% cases of paralysis and heart diseases can be prevented. Thus regulation of blood pressure is of utmost importance. There are a lot of misconceptions about blood pressure in common people. There are many people who are not ready to accept that they are suffering from high blood pressure because they do not get any symptoms like headache or dizziness. But they don’t understand that all patients of high blood pressure do not have these symptoms. Some patients take medications for some time and feel that their blood pressure is cured. Whenever the blood pressure is measured while taking the medication, it is bound to be normal and therefore the patient may discontinue the medication due to a false sense of security. This can prove very dangerous. On discontinuing the drugs, blood pressure starts increasing again, eventually resulting in paralysis or heart attack. This has been observed frequently and is a sad occurrence.

Diabetes: Just like blood pressure, diabetes is also avery dangerous condition. It is a silent disease, which quietly causes a lot of damage. It is essential, that oneaccepts the disease and takes regular necessary .treatment. Blood sugar should be checked regularly. Along with the right treatment, the patient should be careful about his lifestyle as well as eating habits. Exercise is essential for a diabetic patient.

Diet: To prevent a stroke, the fat content in the dietshould be reduced to bare minimum. Ghee, butter, fried snacks and ice cream should be taken in moderation. In India, particularly in Gujarat consumption of ice cream is the highest. Instead, salads, fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed in larger quantity.

Regular Aerobic Exercise: 45 to .60 minutes ofwalking or other aerobic exercise daily can be very beneficial. Yoga and other appropriate exercises can also be carried out regularly. It is necessary to do exercise for at least 5 days in a week.

 

Tensions and stress should be reduced and one shouldlearn to relax and enjoy life. Jealousy, anger, negative thinking should be avoided and everyone should live in harmony, which will always be beneficial.

 

Use of contraceptive pills should be reduced to bareminimum and other forms of contraception should be followed.

 

The patients who have previously suffered a stroke or a heart attack should take drugs like Aspirin, Dipyridamol, Ticlopidine, Clopidogrel, etc; to keep the blood thin, as per prescription from the doctor. With the help of these drugs the chances of a heart attack or paralysis can be reduced by about 13% to 45%. This is secondary prevention. But there is a difference of opinion as regardsthe primary prevention. If a patient has not suffered either a heart attack ©r a brain attack, but has definite risk factors e.g. advanced age, diabetes, high blood pressure, this patient should take aspirin or not ? Well, if risk factors are more it is logical to take Aspirin..

 

If there is elevated Lipid level particularly Cholesterol or LDL levels and if HDL Cholesterol level is low, then these patients benefit immensely with regular supervised doses of statin group of drugs viz. Atorvastatin, Lovastatin, Simvastatin, Prevastatin. This recent scientific invention has revolutionized the concept of treatment of heart attacks and paralysis and has averted several angioplasties, coronary bypass surgeries and perhaps carotid surgeries.


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