Tag Archives: stroke

Diets rich in antioxidants linked to reduced stroke risk

HealthDay reports, “Diets rich in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and whole grains appear to lower a woman’s odds for a stroke, even if she has a prior history of heart disease,” according to a study published in the journal Stroke. Continue reading

Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

I’m surprised how many of my patients are NOT aware of the potential cardiovascular risks of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). If you’re in their camp, don’t miss this report: Continue reading

Vitamin E consumption for stroke prevention may be harmful

In a past blog I told you, “… a spate of high-profile studies published in the last few years shows that a variety of popular supplements — including calcium, selenium, and vitamins A, C and E — don’t do anything to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, or a variety of cancers.” Also, I said, “In the past few years, several high-quality studies have failed to show that extra vitamins, at least in pill form, help prevent chronic disease or prolong life.” Now there’s some evidence of harm, at least with vitamin E.

Bloomberg News reports, “Taking vitamin E supplements doesn’t reduce the risk of stroke, and may even be harmful, an analysis of previous research found.”

Vitamin E “raised the risk of a severe type of stroke by 22 percent, while it lowered the risk of a milder kind by 10 percent, according to the study,” published in the British Medical Journal. Prior “studies of the vitamin’s effectiveness have produced conflicting results, with some showing a protective effect and others seeing no effect and an increase in the risk of early death, the study said.”

Here are more details from BBC News:

Taking vitamin E could slightly increase the risk of a particular type of stroke, a study says.

The British Medical Journal study found that for every 1,250 people there is the chance of one extra haemorrhagic stroke – bleeding in the brain. Researchers from France, Germany and the US studied nine previous trials and nearly 119,000 people.

But the level at which vitamin E becomes harmful is still unknown, experts say. The study was carried out at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and INSERM in Paris.

Haemorrhagic strokes are the least common type and occur when a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain ruptures and causes brain damage.

Researchers found that vitamin E increased the risk of this kind of stroke by 22%. The study also found that vitamin E could actually cut the risk of ischaemic strokes – the most common type of stroke – by 10%.

Ischaemic strokes account for 70% of all cases and happen when a blood clot prevents blood reaching the brain.

Experts found vitamin E could cut the risk, equivalent to one ischaemic stroke prevented per 476 people taking the vitamin.

Lifestyle check

However, they warned that keeping to a healthy lifestyle and maintaining low blood pressure and low cholesterol have a far bigger effect on cutting the risk of ischaemic stroke than taking vitamin E.

More than 111,000 people have a stroke every year and they are the third biggest cause of death in the UK.

While none of the trials suggested that taking vitamin E increased the risk for total stroke, the differences were notable for the two individual types of strokes.

The authors concluded: “Given the relatively small risk reduction of ischaemic stroke and the generally more severe outcome of haemorrhagic stroke, indiscriminate widespread use of vitamin E should be cautioned against.”

Previous studies have suggested that taking vitamin E can protect the heart from coronary heart disease, but some have also found that the vitamin could increase the risk of death if taken in high doses.

Dr Peter Coleman, deputy director of research at The Stroke Association, said: “This is a very interesting study that shows that the risk of haemorrhagic stroke can be slightly increased by high levels of orally taken Vitamin E, although what is a high level has not clearly been ascertained.

“More research is required to discover the mechanism of action and the level at which Vitamin E can become harmful.

“We urge people to maintain a lifestyle of a balanced diet, regular exercise and monitoring their blood pressure to reduce their risk of a stroke but would be very interested in seeing further research into this study,” he said.

New Study Says, “Check blood pressure at home, not MD’s office!”

Think you need to go to the doctor’s office to check your blood pressure? Think again. For years I’ve had my patients monitor their blood pressure at home. I do NOT rely solely upon blood pressure readings in the office. Now comes a new study saying the best way to predict your risk of stroke or heart attack due to high blood pressure is through systematic monitoring at home rather than periodic checks in the doctor’s office.

Here are more details from Reuters Health: “With home blood pressure monitoring you get a greater number of measurements and there is no white-coat effect,” lead author Dr. Teemu Niiranen told Reuters Health, speaking of the tendency for anxiety to drive up blood pressure. “At home the patient is more relaxed and this seems to provide blood pressure values that reflect the patient’s true blood pressure better.”

Writing in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, Niiranen and colleagues at Finland’s National Institute of Health and Welfare concluded that home-measured blood pressure is a better predictor of heart disease-related problems than office-measured blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease, and nearly one in three Americans have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2006 it contributed to the deaths of 326,000 Americans.

The researchers used data on more than 2,000 Finns, 45 to 74 years old, gathered between 2000 and 2001. Participants agreed to be interviewed, undergo medical exams and monitor their blood pressure at home on well-calibrated monitoring devices.

At follow-up nearly 7 years later, 162 participants reported at least 1 non-fatal heart disease-related event such as a heart attack, stroke, or hospitalization due to heart failure. Among the 2,081 participants, 37 heart disease-related deaths were reported.

After analyzing the data, the Niiranen group concluded that the best predictor of heart attacks, strokes, and related deaths was home blood pressure monitoring.

The home blood pressure readings, because there were more of them and they weren’t affected by the “white coat effect,” were more accurate, the authors found.

The home blood pressure monitor used in the study – Omron’s HEM-722c, comparable to the HEM-712c in the U.S. — costs about $70. Niiranen said 60 percent of Finnish patients with high blood pressure have home monitors.

While the study was done in Finland, Niiranen said there’s no reason to believe these results would not also apply to the populations in other countries.

The study could not determine whether home monitoring could save lives, however, since it was only observational, Niiranen said.

Consuming one serving of chocolate every week may reduce stroke risk

Just in time for your Valentine’s weekend, a new report indicating that chocolate may both cut your risk of a stroke and reduce the risk of death after a stroke. And, the effect may only require one small serving of dark chocolate a week.

USA Today reports, “A new analysis, which involved a review of three prior studies, suggests eating about a bar of chocolate a week can help cut the risk of stroke and lower the risk of death after a stroke.”

Researchers in Canada explained that “one study they looked at found that 44,489 people who ate one serving of chocolate per week were 22% less likely to have a stroke than people who ate no chocolate.”

A second study showed that “1,169 people who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week were 46% less likely to die following a stroke.”

A third study, however, “found no association between chocolate consumption and risk of death from stroke,” WebMD reported.

Nevertheless, investigators say “more research is needed to determine whether chocolate truly lowers stroke risk, or whether healthier people are simply more likely to eat chocolate than others.”

Moreover, the study participants “did not identify what kind of chocolate they had eaten,” the Canadian Press reported. HealthDay also covered the study.

You can read my other blogs on chocolate here:

You can learn more about becoming happier and more highly healthy in my book 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy:

  • You can order a copy here.
  • You can look at the Table of Contents here.
  • You can read the first chapter of the book here.
  • And, if you’re part of a reading group or small-group, there’s a reader’s guide available here.

The Ten Commandments of Preventive Medicine – Part 2 – Obesity

In my newest book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People, I teach people how to utilize the ten essentials that are necessary to live a happy and highly healthy life. Under The Essential of Self-Care, I’ve developed a list of what I call “The 10 Commandments of Preventive Medicine.”  Here’s the second installment of this ten-part series.

More information: Continue reading

Four lifestyle choices reduce risk of chronic disease 80 percent

What an interesting new study. It concludes that to dramatically reduce your healthcare costs, to lengthen your life, to improve the quality of your life, and, in short, to have a happier and more highly healthy life, you need to “only” do four things.

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FDA Approves Triple-Drug Antihypertensive Polypill – Should you consider a polypill?

Hidden behind all of the Swine flu news stories is this one – which I feel is significantly more important when it comes to public health. The FDA just gave its official thumbs-up to an antihypertensive polypill. Could this pave the way for a preventive medicine polypill? And, should you consider taking a polypill?

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First-Ever Treatment of Stroke Using Adult Stem Cells (another reason embryonic stem cell research is doomed)

In what is believed to be the nation’s first such procedure, doctors in Texas were able to successfully use adult stem cells from a patient to treat the effects of his stroke. Physicians from Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston were involved in the process.

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Study indicates inexpensive polypill pill may significantly reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Should you consider it?

On the March 30th edition of the ABC World News, Charles Gibson reported, “Some of the country’s leading heart doctors heard results” yesterday at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) conference “about … just one pill that could revolutionize the way heart disease is treated. This pill combines five commonly used medications, and new findings show it to be safe and effective.” Should you get your doctor to prescribe this to you?

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Inexpensive blood test identifies people with a normal cholesterol at risk for heart attack, stroke – and a statin medicine may save lives and change preventive medicine

Whew! This is long title describing the remarkable results of a study, just announced at the American Heart Association’s meeting in New Orleans, which showed that AstraZeneca’s cholesterol fighting Crestor (rosuvastatin) slashed deaths, heart attacks, strokes, and artery-clearing procedures in apparently healthy patients who had normal cholesterol levels. The study has made a dramatic impression on some doctors who now expect an adjustment to preventive care guidelines.

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‘Silent Strokes’ Strike One in 10 Healthy People

HealthDay News is reporting that if you’re an older American with no major health problems, chances are about one in 10 that you’ve had a stroke and didn’t know it. It was probably not severe enough to cause recognizable symptoms, such as vision problems, facial weakness or trouble walking, but it was still a blockage of a brain artery, and it reduced your thinking powers just a bit.

My Take? Continue reading

Dr. Walt’s Take on the Health Headlines – May 28, 2008

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Best Treatment for Vertigo Is Easiest One

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