Overweight and Headache: Problems Associated with Obesity, Treatment of Overweight and Depression

Fatness is often a reason of severe headache symptoms. Losing mass can ease frequent headache and migraine headache symptom occurrence.

Body mass index (BMI), and display of overweight, is specified as the body mass in kilogram separated by square of height (meter), and according to an approximation 5% population, having a body mass index in the series of 25 to 30, suffers every day headache. Community having body mass index higher than 30 are called obese and in such casing the fraction of people anguish from pain is superior.

Headache may grounds various troubles to people suffering commencing it; some of the trouble has been summarized below.

Patients affliction from headache caused by obesity possibly will discover it difficult to tag along the routine movement.

Headache caused by obesity may differ in incidence and period. Depending upon harshness of the chaos the symptoms resembling nausea and vomiting are linked with migraine and headache.

Problems Associated With Obesity

  • Obesity and overweight people is increasing greatly. As per howtogetrid.org study, in US only more than 65% adult people is overweight, and is a major health trouble. Obesity may be linked with a number of harms.
  • Obesity may boost the humanity rate.
  • Migraine and headache medicines can also grounds obesity.
  • The class of life amid obese patients is unlike. Hence the organization of headache in these patients is hard.

Managing Obesity

  • Headache can be managed by a variety of methods but at the similar time, you should be supposed to be advised to decrease weight.
  • You supposed to be advised to seek advice from a dietician and you be supposed to take the diet as suggested by the physician or specialist.
  • You be supposed to carry out work out under the care of a professional.

Treatment Aim

If obesity is a start for headache and effectual obesity and headache cure should be adopted. The intend should have been targeted toward

  • Manage obesity up to the majority likely level.
  • Decrease the regularity and period of headache.
  • Decrease the harshness of headache.
  • Decrease the symptoms linked with pain such as nausea and vomiting.
  • Decrease the on the whole medication.
  • Decrease the headache connected worry and mental symptoms.

Treatment Option For Headache

Headache should be restricted by medicines at the same time you should stay a watch on your mass. You supposed to carry out diet manage, bodily movements and other leisure time technique to manage mass and pain.

  • A number of medicines for controlling headache might encourage mass gain.
  • A number of medicines known as anti-epileptics help out in dropping weights.
  • Medicines like sibutramine must be avoided.
  • Medicines like tricycles and corticosteroids are supposed to be used with care.

Tai Chi and Qigong

Imagine if every one of the 60 million men, women, and children living in the western United States suited up each morning for 20 to 40 minutes of low-impact, no-sweat exercise. That’s what happens in China, where an estimated 60 million people-particularly the elderly-start their days with routines that look just as elegant and graceful as ballet.

They’re practicing either the slow, beautifully choreographed tai chi chuan (pronounced “tie chee chwan”) or the more subtle, less dancelike qigong (pronounced “chee gong”). Both disciplines combine a series of fluid movements with meditative attention to the breath and body.

And while both have existed for thousands of years, they’re relative newcomers to the United States. Tai chi chuan (also known as tai chi) has gradually gained popularity over the past 25 years as a gentle, relaxing form of physical activity and as a way to cope with a variety of ill­nesses. Qigong (sometimes spelled “chi gong” or “chi kung”) has taken root in this country more recently, although for similar reasons.

Qi: The Key to Healing.

In Chinese medicine, chi or qi is life energy, a vital force not formally recognized by mainstream M.D.’s. Qigong-the word means “cultivation of qi”-originated about 3,500 years ago, as Chinese physicians realized that a combination of low-impact movements and meditative focus could move qi around inside the body. Qigong exercises inspired all of the martial arts, including tai chi.

Tai chi was developed by Chang San­Feng, a semi-mythical Taoist monk and qigong practitioner who is said to have lived around A.D. 1400. One night, the story goes, he dreamed of a snake and a crane fighting. He was so fascinated by the animals’ movements that he decided to combine them-as well as the combative movements of deer, tigers, bears, and monkeys-with qigong. This modified version of qigong became known as tai chi.

The phrase tai chi chuan is variously translated as “supreme boxing” or “optimal fist fighting.” It is considered a martial art­but unlike karate and kung fu, with their hard punches and kicks, tai chi emphasizes fluidity of movement. According to tai chi masters, this gentle dance fosters the flexibility of a child, the strength of a lumber­jack, and eventually the wisdom of a sage.

Tai Chi:Talking the “work” Out of Workout

Because tai chi is more popular than qigong in the West, it has been subjected to more extensive research in the United States and Europe. The majority of studies have found that tai chi offers significant and surprising health benefits.

One reason it’s so therapeutic is that it provides a deceptively intense workout. Canadian researchers reached this conclusion after monitoring a small group of men who had been taught a 20-minute tai chi routine. The men’s heart rates rose to about 50 percent of their age-specific maximums-not high enough to qualify as a strenuous aerobic workout, but sufficient to reduce the men’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and obesity.

This is the sort of exercise that physicians typically recommend for people over age 55. No wonder other researchers have since endorsed tai chi as a good all-around activity for seniors as well as for those with chronic medical conditions.

Tai chi also appears to have a positive effect on a variety of specific health problems and concerns. Studies show that it can help people who have high blood pressure,
rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

Research has shown that tai chi can also help improve balance and prevent falls. At Emory University in Atlanta, researcher Steven 1. Wolf, M.D., divided 200 people (average age 76) into three groups. One group received tai chi instruction for 15 weeks, another received biofeedback balance training for 15 weeks, and the third attended seminars about fall prevention but received no physical training. All of the participants reported their falls over a 4-month period. Those who practiced tai chi went an average of 48 percent longer without a fall than those in the other two groups.

Qigong: Proving Its Worth

Qigong has never been as popular outside China as the many martial arts it inspired. But that’s slowly changing as research-most of it from Asia -confirms the profound health benefits of qigong’s subtle, meditative movements. So far, studies indicate that qigong can help people who suffer from heart disease, stroke, or respiratory problems.

It may also help with chronic pain and stress. In fact, people who practice qigong generally agree that the exercises enhance their ability to manage stress. When researchers at the Chinese Institute of Aviation Medicine in Beijing trained 18 jet fighter pilots in qigong, the pilots were better able to perform under stressful flying conditions.

A Taste of Tai Chi

Most teachers of tai chi say that learning one of the 50-move “short forms” popular in the United States takes about a year-and truly mastering the discipline takes a lifetime. The best way to train in tai chi is to enroll in a class. To find one, look in the Yellow Pages under “Tai Chi” or “Martial Arts” or ask for referrals from yoga or martial arts instructors.

To get just an idea of what tai chi is like, try these first five moves from the form that Terry Dunn demonstrates in his video Tai Chi/or Health.

To test the effects of tai chi on people with high blood pressure, cardiologists at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, England, assigned 126 heart attack survivors (average age 56) to one of three groups. The first practiced tai chi once or twice a week; the second engaged in aerobic exercise once or twice a week; and the third participated in a support group that met once a week. After 8 weeks, the tai chi group registered the greatest drops in blood pressure, surpassing even the aerobic exercise group. The support group’s blood pressure readings remained unchanged.

Other research has shown the benefits of tai chi for people who have rheumatoid arthritis, a potentially crippling inflammatory joint disease. At Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital in North Carolina, 20 people with rheumatoid arthritis practiced tai chi for 1 hour twice a week. Over the course of 10 weeks, none of the participants experienced any aggravation of their symptoms. This is important because many doctors are reluctant to advise people with rheumatoid arthritis to exercise, fearing that overexertion will trigger joint inflammation. Apparently, tai chi poses no risk of inflammation.

Preparation: Stand with your heels together and your toes pointing outward at about a 20-degree angle. Place your arms at your sides. Focus on your breathing. Bend both knees and slowly shift all of your weight onto your right leg.

When there’s no weight on your left leg, move the leg to the left so that your feet are shoulder-width apart. In a low seated position, slowly shift all of your weight to your left leg, keeping your back straight.

When there’s no weight on your right leg, turn your right foot, pivoting on your heel until your feet are parallel. Shift your weight so that it’s equally distributed between both legs. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, slowly rise up, straightening your legs. Rotate your elbows outward. Then flex your wrists upward until they are at a 45-degree angle with the plane of your shoulders.

Beginning: In this sequence, your torso is still and erect. Only your arms and shoulders move. Stand in the ending Preparation position. Inhale. Imagine that strings are tied around your wrists, pulling them upward in front of you. Allow your fingers and hands to dangle in a relaxed state as you slowly bring your wrists up to shoulder level. When your wrists are at shoulder level, exhale and lift your fingers. Straighten your hands so that your palms are facing slightly forward. With your legs firmly planted on the ground and knees slightly bent, project your energy from the tips of your fingers.

Inhale. Drop your elbows to a position over your hips and draw your hands back to your shoulders. Gently lift your palms, then your fingers. While maintaining your wrists and hands in this position, allow your arms to slide down the length of your body until they are at your sides. Return to the ending Preparation position.

Ward Off Left: Begin in the ending Preparation position. Shift your weight to your left leg and pivot 90 degrees on your right heel. As you turn, raise your right hand to shoulder level with your palm down, and move your left hand to a position over your right hip with your palm up. Imagine that your hands are holding a large ball. Square your shoulders and hips to the right, keeping your knees bent and your weight in your seat and legs.

While keeping your back straight, shift your weight forward to your right leg and bend your right knee so that it is positioned over your right foot. Look left over your shoulder and step out with your left heel along the line of your left shoulder. Plant your left heel about 24 inches out, then step down with your toes so that your left foot is flat.

As you set your toes down, shift all of your weight to your left leg and turn your torso left from your waist. As you turn, raise your left forearm across your chest and drop your right arm so that your right hand is over your right hip, palm facing down. Pivot your right foot 45 degrees.

Ward Off Right: This sequence follows from Ward Off Left. Bring your right hand, palm up, to your waist level and your left hand, palm down, to the level of your left shoulder, as though you were holding a large ball. At the same time, rise up on your right toes. Shift your weight to your left leg. Keeping your back straight, sink your weight into your left hip.

While keeping your hands in position, step out with your right leg about 24 inches,
along the line of your right shoulder. Plant your right heel, then your toes as you shift your weight forward to your right leg. Your knee should be bent and over your right toes. As you do this, raise your hands to throat level in front of you, with your right hand in front of your left and your palms facing each other. Imagine that you’re holding a medium-size ball. Keeping your back straight and your knees bent, pivot your left foot 45 degrees .

Grasp the Bird’s Tail. This sequence follows from the Ward Off Right position. With your right knee over your right toes in Ward Off Right, turn your torso to the right at your waist. Do this while keeping your arms in the same position within the frame of your shoulders. Move your right palm forward so that the fingers point outward, and move your left palm back, in an upward position, so that the fingers point toward your right elbow.

Slowly shift your weight and turn left. At the same time, allow your left hand to swing down with the force of gravity and then back up so that it’s in line with your left shoulder. Your right arm should remain bent, with your fingers up, as your forearm is brought across your chest. Your elbows should have a slight bend, as though you were holding a ball at chest level.

With your weight on your left leg, turn right and shift your weight onto your right leg. As you turn, bring your left arm across your chest, with your palm facing to your right. Bring the palm of your right hand up so that your palms meet and press together over your right knee, which is in line with your right toes. Your hips and shoulders should be squared to the right.

Without turning your waist or shoulders, shift your weight back onto your left leg. Separate your palms, pull your hands back to your shoulders, and point your fingers up and your palms forward. Shift your weight to your right leg and extend your palms forward until your elbows are almost straight, as if you were pushing something.

A Qigong Sampler

Because qigong is only now becoming popular in the United States, teachers may be hard to find. Ask tai chi, yoga, or martial arts instructors in your area for recommendations. To get a sense of how qigong differs from tai chi, try these three exercises offered by qigong master Ching Tse Lee, Ph.D., psychology professor at Brooklyn College.

The Rejuvenator: Stand with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your upper body straight and relaxed and your arms at your sides, slowly bend your knees about 45 degrees into a quarter-squat position. Slowly raise your arms in front of you about 35 degrees, with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing each other. Bring your palms closer until you feel qi (characterized by sensations of tingling, throbbing, trembling, cold, heat, or electricity). Once you feel qi, stay with it and become familiar with it. The sensations may come and go. Practice this exercise for 3 to 10 minutes, or as long as you can comfortably maintain the bent-knee position. This exercise should leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

The Calmer: Begin by doing the Rejuvenator. After you’ve experienced qi for 5 to 10 minutes, observe your breathing-the natural expansion of your body as you inhale and the contraction as you exhale. Merge into the moment meditatively. Next, observe how your palms move farther apart when you inhale and closer together when you exhale. Once you’ve appreciated your breathing and body expansion and contrac­tion, feel the energy all around you. Does one part of your body feel lighter or heavier? Warmer or colder? If you practice daily, you’ll eventually feel the energy around you as even and balanced. This exercise produces a sense of profound calm.

The Energizer: This exercise enhances the circulation of qi around your body. Begin by doing the Rejuvenator. Then relax and observe your breathing for a few minutes, feeling the expansion and contraction of your body, as in the Calmer. While inhaling, let your arms float up to shoulder height, with your elbows slightly bent. While exhaling, let your arms stretch out effortlessly. Inhale and let your arms bend and slowly descend until your thumbs touch the sides of your legs. Exhale and let your arms straighten out along your sides. Repeat this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes. As you do, focus on the qi flowing around you. You may feel it circulate from your back to your hands as you complete each cycle. Empty your mind meditatively. Become one with the exercise. Even if you don’t notice qi movement at first, you will eventually-sometimes when you least expect it.

Video (Difference Between Tai Chi and Chi Kung)

Measles (Rubeola)

Measles

Signs and Symptoms

  • Body-wide rash
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Persistent cough
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Tiny white spots on the inside of the cheek

Description

Measles, a severe illness that usually strikes children, is caused by a virus that is transmitted via infected droplets-usually the droplets are inhaled from an infected person’s sneeze or cough. In healthy people, measles usually poses little health threat. Infants, the elderly, and people with poor health, on the other hand, can develop serious complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Fortunately, people who have had measles become permanently immune, preventing them from getting the disease again.

A few days after being infected with the virus, the measles victim will develop flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. After three to five days, white spots begin to develop on the inside of the cheek, followed by the characteristic red blotchy rash, which appears on the face and slowly spreads to the neck, torso, arms, and legs. This rash may last up to 10 days before slowly fading. Unfortunately, measles is most infectious during the 10 to 14 days after infection, particularly before the rash appears.

Conventional Medical Treatment

If you suspect you have measles, call your physician (rather than making an office visit, since the virus is highly contagious) to see if you need an appointment. Measles usually does not require medical attention and is cared for in isolation until the rash disappears. Acetaminophen and over-the-counter cough medicine can be used to treat individual symptoms.

If, however, you are unsure that you have measles, or are particularly uncomfortable with the illness, your physician may ask to see you. A physical exam is usually all that is necessary to diagnose the condition, although your doctor may take a blood sample. Call your physician immediately if you begin to vomit, since this can be a sign of encephalitis, a dangerous inflammation of the brain.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Nutrition and Supplementation

Drink plenty of fluids, including water, juices, and vegetable broth. Boost your immune system with these daily supplements:

  • vitamin A (10,000 IU twice for 1 week, then reduce to 10,000 IU once; do not exceed this dosage; do not exceed 8000 if you are pregnant)
  • cod liver oil (as directed on label)-for children who can’t swallow capsules
  • proteolytic enzymes (as directed on label)-reduces infection
  • raw thymus glandular (500 mg twice daily)-stimulates the immune system
  • vitamin C (300 to 1000 mg in divided doses for children; 1000 to 3000 mg in divided doses for adults)-vital to immune function; controls fever and infection
  • vitamin B complex (50 mg 3 times daily)-promotes healing; for a child under eight, use a formula specifically designed for children
  • zinc (1 I5-mg lozenge 3 times daily for 4 days, then reduce to 1 lozenge daily)-speeds healing; relieves itchy throat and cough

(Consult your healthcare provider regarding the duration of treatment.)

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture Rubeola, also known as hard measles, cannot be cured with acupuncture (as is true of any viral infection), but this treatment can be helpful in lessening associated symptoms, such as fever and rash. Acupuncture also can be used to bolster the immune system, which may help lessen the risk of additional complications, such as bronchitis and ear infections.

Chinese Herbal Therapy A TCM practitioner may recommend that burdock be taken internally, or mixed with water and used as an external wash to combat a measles rash. Red, irritated eyes may be remedied with Chinese black cohosh. A child’s dose of Hex and Evodia (Can Moo Ling) may be used to speed recovery.

References

  1. http://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/measles/en/
  2. https://www.skin-disorders.net/diseases/measles.html
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/signs-symptoms.html

Migraine with Aura

It is described as a Neurological incident which will effect ten to thirty minutes earlier than headache. This Neurological occurrence is also called as Aura. Most of these Auras are clearly visible and are identified as bright glittering lights around the boundaries of field of vision or the crisscross lines or curvy images. All these symptoms lead to a loss of vision.

Migraine with Aura

Loss of Visual aura consists of tongue or extremities, giddiness, unsteadiness, deadness of the face, weakness.

Symptoms

Before the headache, there are many other symptoms which will effect with in twenty four hours of visual disorder. They are:

    • Crisscross lines are observed.
    • Blinking lights are observed.
    • Many other visual illusions are observed.
    • Momentary shaded spots are observed.
    • Indistinct visualization.
    • Eye ball tenderness.

In other words this Headache can be explained as Hammering pain which will start at one end of the head and it will spread to the other end. For most of the victims who are all affected with this Migraine headache, every time the pain starts at the same end. Many of them explained that the pain is at the back of neck and head behind the eye.

This migraine headache will start slowly and rises to the maximum limit with in quite a few minutes and hours. Some times, this pain will continue to be there for many hours to days, at that situation the patients are not much responsive to sound and light. Most of the patients prefer to relax in a gloomy room.

Treatment

Maintaining a dairy and updating that with the following points is the only way to find out the causes for the Migraine headaches:

  • At what time the headache triggered.
  • How serious the headache is.
  • What are all the indications for this headache?
  • What is the food taken at the time?
  • What is your way of sleeping?
  • Some more probable issues.

Medications are primarily given to treat the symptoms of migraine. Used alone or in combinations, these drugs can minimize pain, nausea, or emotional distress caused by the migraine.

Prevention

Patients who are suffering from dangerous migraines should keep away from the issues that caused the Migraine headaches previously. Some of the people affected with Migraine headaches can easily recognize the eatables which cause the migraine. As mentioned previously, maintaining a dairy for what are all the causes of these migraines, is the only solution. Most of the patients affected with Migraine turn out to be familiar with the indications before the Migraine headache and Medication to approaching headache.

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Stroke

More than 300 years ago, physicians noticed that some people-almost always the elderly-suddenly keeled over dead or paralyzed, often after complaining of headaches, dizziness, or weakness. These attacks seemed to come out of the blue, like a stroke of bad luck. So they named the condition stroke.

Stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. About 700,000 Americans suffer strokes each year, and almost 160,000 die from them, according to the American Heart Association.

With statistics like these, you’d think people would be able to recite the warning signs of stroke as easily as the lyrics of “Jingle Bells:” But unfortunately, few can. For a leading cause of death, stroke is a tragically well-kept secret. Many people don’t even know the six key warning signs: dizziness, numbness, weakness on one side, slurred speech, vision problems, and severe headache.

There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, caused by blocked blood flow through part of the brain, and hemorrhagic, caused by a burst blood vessel that bleeds into your brain. Ischemic stroke accounts for 75 percent of all strokes.

Ischemic strokes are virtually identical to heart attacks, except that they happen in your brain instead of your heart. These strokes begin with tiny injuries to brain arteries caused by high blood pressure, smoking, or a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. Over time, these injured areas get covered with cholesterol-rich deposits called plaques that narrow the injured arteries.

Sometimes a plaque ruptures, causing a blood clot in the artery and cutting off the blood supply to part of your brain. That’s an ischemic stroke. In fact, heart attacks and ischemic strokes are so similar that the American Heart Association now calls them brain attacks.

Some time before you have a stroke, you experience one or more mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs). During a TIA, there’s a temporary blockage of blood flow in your brain. But then the blockage dissolves on its own, and blood flow returns to normal. You seem to recover completely. The average TIA lasts about a minute.

Ischemic strokes have many of the same risk factors as heart attacks. Anything you can do to reduce these risk factors is likely to reduce your risk of stroke, too.

Stroke

Best Choices

Nutrition

Make do without meat. If you eat meat every day, you may double your stroke risk, according to Yale neurologist John Lynch, M.D. For 10 years, Dr. Lynch tracked 6,500 stroke-free men between ages 57 and 67. In that time, 12 percent of the men who ate meat daily had strokes. But among those who ate meat only one to three times a month, just 5.4 percent experienced strokes.

Eat copious quantities of produce. A high-fat, high-cholesterol diet increases stroke risk by contributing to the formation of free radicals. These unstable oxygen molecules damage the arteries in your brain. Fortunately, a great deal of this damage can be prevented by special nutrients called antioxidants, found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. One British study found that those who eat the most fruit experience 32 percent fewer strokes.

A diet high in antioxidants helps prevent hemorrhagic as well as ischemic stroke, according to Alan Gaby, M.D. “Vitamin C and the flavonoids usually found with vitamin C in foods help maintain blood vessel integrity,” he explains. “This reduces the likelihood of bleeding in the brain.”

Boost your intake of Bs. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, fruits and vegetables contain generous supplies of vitamin B6 and folic acid. These B vitamins reduce levels of homocysteine, a recently identified risk factor for stroke.

For vitamin B6, clinical nutritionist Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., recommends spinach, carrots, peas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish (especially salmon and herring), chicken, and eggs. Foods rich in folic acid include spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and whole wheat.

Feast on fish. Dutch researchers who have tracked the health, diet, and lifestyles of people in Zutphen, the Netherlands, for many years have found that those who eat fish regularly have a lower rate of stroke than those who don’t. Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are the richest sources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but most other fish and seafood contain some as well.

Munch a few walnuts. Besides being delicious, walnuts contain an oil rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid similar to the health-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Alpha-linolenic and omega-3 fatty acids help prevent the internal blood clots that trigger stroke. You can also obtain alpha-linolenic acid from canola and soybean oils.

Pounce on potassium. Dietary potassium helps prevent high blood pressure, and researchers have found that it might help prevent stroke. Good food sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry, and fish. “Basically, the higher your blood potassium level, the lower your risk of stroke;” Dr. Gaby says.

Supplements

Buy your Bs in a bottle. If you’re concerned that your diet might not provide enough vitamin B6 and folic acid to prevent stroke, Dr. Lieberman suggests taking supplements of both nutrients. Aim for 300 milligrams of B6 and 800 micrograms of folic acid a day. Vitamin B6 doses this high, however, should only be taken under medical supervision.

Add E for extra protection. “Several large population studies have demonstrated that blood levels of vitamin E may be better predictors of future stroke than total cholesterollevels,” says Joseph Pizzorno Jr., N.D. Vitamin E speeds the breakdown of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol while simultaneously increasing levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that appears to reduce the likelihood of the internal blood clots that trigger ischemic stroke. Unfortunately, the vitamin may increase your risk of hemorrhagic stroke. If you’re thinking about taking supplements, check with your doctor first.

Exercise

To stop strokes, sweat. Chances are, you know that exercise helps prevent heart attack. But you may not realize the value of exercise for stroke prevention. Much research shows that physical activity helps prevent ischemic stroke. In one study, for instance, researchers found that people who engaged in moderate to high levels of exercise had less than half the stroke risk of people who engaged in low levels of exercise. Beneficial physical activities include walking, gardening, dancing, bowling-just about anything that gets your body moving.

Relaxarion Therapies

Manage your anger. According to research by Susan A. Everson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, angry outbursts double your stroke risk. She recommends identifying your anger triggers and working to stay calm so that you don’t lose your temper and send your blood pressure soaring. She suggests deep breathing, counting to 10, and walking away from potentially anger-provoking situations.

Music Therapy

Strike up the band. Many stroke survivors become depressed, which makes them less willing to work at rehabilitation. Music improves stroke rehabilitation because it has an antidepressant effect.

At Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland, music therapist Heather Purdie divided 40 stroke survivors into two groups. One group received standard care, while the other received 40 minutes of music therapy a day. After 12 weeks, the people in the music-therapy group were less depressed, less anxious, and more motivated to participate in rehabilitation.

Social Support

Recruit a team of cheerleaders. Duke University researchers studied 46 people who had been hospitalized for strokes. Eight had little emotional support, 24 had a moderate amount, and 14 had a great deal. The researchers correlated the stroke survivors’ social support with their recovery after 6 months. Those with the most support recovered much more quickly and fully.

Count on your spouse. Close relationships also help reduce risk of stroke. In a risk-factor-reduction program at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, Stephen D. M. Pyke, M.D., worked with both individuals and couples. The people who participated as couples were significantly more successful at reducing their blood pressures and cholesterol levels and at quitting smoking.

Herbal Medicine

Boost blood flow with ginkgo. European physicians often prescribe an extract of ginkgo leaves for stroke survivors because of studies showing that it improves blood flow through the brain. “I consider ginkgo preventive for stroke;’ says Alan P. Brauer, M.D. “In addition to its effectiveness, it’s nontoxic.” He recommends 100 to 200 milligrams a day. If you are regularly taking any type of blood­thinning medication, including aspirin, seek medical advice before taking ginkgo.

Prevent clots with garlic. Garlic helps prevent ischemic stroke in three ways: It reduces blood pressure, it lowers cholesterol levels, and it’s an anticoagulant. “If I were at risk for ischemic stroke, I’d increase my use of garlic in cooking;” says James A. Duke, Ph.D. “I’d also take garlic capsules.” Onions, scallions, leeks, chives, and shallots have similar benefits.

Home Remedies

Know your numbers. Because high blood pressure and high cholesterol greatly increase stroke risk, the National Stroke Association recommends having both checked at least once a year. Lowering your blood pressure to normal reduces your stroke risk about 40 percent, according to Roger E. Kelley, M.D., chairperson of neurology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport.

In addition, cutting your cholesterol by 25 percent lowers your stroke risk by 29 percent, according to an analysis of 16 studies by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you bring your blood pressure and cholesterol to recommended levels, you greatly reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease;” Dr. Pizzorno says.

Get tested for atrial fibrlllation. This condition-which can be detected during a check-up-is treatable with medication. Atrial fibrillation increases your risk of the internal blood clots involved in stroke.

Join the nonsmokers. Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England compared 125 men and women who had just experienced first strokes with 198 similar people who hadn’t. The stroke victims were much more likely to smoke (and to be overweight and not exercise).

In the United States, every surgeon general since 1964 has urged Americans to quit smoking. Stroke is one of the many reasons.

Other Good Choices

Chinese Medicine

Let your Blood flow. Practitioners of Chinese medicine attribute stroke to a chronic weakness of qi that eventually blocks the flow of Blood through the brain. “Chinese medicine has equated stroke and heart attack for centuries;” says Efrem Korngold, O.M.D., L.Ac. “Western medicine has come to this view only recently.”

To treat stroke, Dr. Korngold prescribes herbs that open the blood vessels and promote the flow of Blood. These include hawthorn, frankincense, myrrh, santalum wood, aristolochia root, and borneol crystals.

Make an appointment with an acupuncturist. Both the United Nations World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health endorse acupuncture as a treatment for stroke-related disabilities. Successful acupunture studies with stroke patients have been conducted in Norway and Sweden, with promising results. If you’re interested in trying acupuncture, consult a professional acupuncturist.

Medical Measures

If your doctor recommends taking an anticoagulant to prevent stroke, ask whether you can try aspirin. Constance Johnson, M.D., professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, calls aspirin the best-choice anticoagulant. She prefers it over prescription drugs because it’s almost as effective, yet it is much cheaper and causes fewer side effects. Many studies have shown that taking regular low­dose aspirin helps prevent stroke.

Instead of aspirin, your doctor might prescribe other anticoagulants such as dipyridamole (persantine), ticlopidine (Ticlid), or warfarin (Coumadin).

If a doctor administers a clot-dissolving drug within 3 hours of an ischemic stroke, normal blood flow can often be restored, and the risk of death or permanent disability drops by about 30 percent. There are also brain-saving drugs that reduce the number of brain cells killed by the stroke and help minimize disability.

Red Flags

To benefit from clot-dissolving and brain­saving drugs, you have to be treated quickly-within a few hours. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the warning signs of stroke. Here’s what the American Heart Association says to watch out for.

  • Sudden weakness or numbness in the face or in an arm or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
  • Sudden loss of the ability to speak, or slurring of words, or an inability to understand speech
  • Sudden severe headaches for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained dizziness, balance problems, or sudden falls

The more of these symptoms a person has, the greater the likelihood of a stroke or­if the symptoms appear only briefly-a TIA.

If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, don’t delay. Call your local emergency number or get the person to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

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Nutrition

Eating high-fat foods is a lethal habit, second only to smoking in terms of the number of lives it claims. According to one study, a high-fat diet is responsible for some 300,000 deaths each year.

Like smoking, a high-fat diet kills by directly contributing to a host of serious health problems. The strongest evidence links dietary fat to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. And, of course, there’s obesity, which is a risk factor for many of these diseases.

Research has also identified a high-fat diet as a risk factor for chronic health problems such as hearing loss, osteoarthritis, and-in men-impotence.

“Most Americans who have chronic health problems would not have those problems if they ate a low-fat diet,” says Neal D. Barnard, M.D., president of the Wash­ington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Adding Carbs, Subtracting Fat

In recent years, Americans have trimmed a little fat from their diets. But total fat consumption is still at near-record levels. Not surprisingly, so is obesity.

For years, carbohydrates were vilified as fattening. As it turns out, carbs are actually your friends, your body’s main source of energy.

What’s more, carbohydrates supply fewer calories than fat-4 calories per gram versus 9 calories per gram. So you can actually eat more carbohydrates than fat for the same number of calories. “Fat calories really sneak up on you,” observes Ron Goor, Ph.D., coauthor (with his wife, Nancy) of the Eater’s Choice low-fat cookbooks. “A few handfuls of potato chips has the same number of calories as two medium-size baked potatoes topped with nonfat yogurt and steamed vegetables:”

“If you reduce your fat consumption from the typical 35 to 40 percent of calories to the 10 percent recommended in my program, you can eat one-third more food without increasing your total calorie intake,” adds Dean Ornish, M.D., president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, whose ultra low fat diet has been shown to reverse heart disease. “You’ll feel full and satisfied but still lose weight. And you’ll reduce your risk of fat-related diseases:”

No wonder the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest-a Washington, D.C.-based consumer nutrition organization-urge all Americans to reduce their dietary fat intakes. In a joint report,
these groups estimated that if every person cut his fat consumption by one-third (to approximately 20 percent of calories), the nation’s health-care bill would plummet by
$17 billion a year.

Guidelines for Healthful -Eating

To our credit, we Americans are consuming less meat, eggs, and whole milk these days. But in exchange, we’re chowing down on a lot more pizza, french fries, and other fast-food items loaded with hidden fat.

You can take steps to pare down your dietary fat intake and reap the many health benefits of low-fat eating. The process begins with reading nutrition labels. As a general rule, you’re much better off if you select foods that derive no more than 20 percent of calories from fat per serving.

But beware: The serving size may be smaller than what you actually eat, so your fat intake is higher than what’s listed on the label. And don’t be fooled by the percent Daily Value. This figure tells you how much of a day’s worth of fat a food provides. But because it’s based on a hypothetical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, not on the number of calories in the food itself, it often misrepresents actual fat content.

You can get a more accurate read on a food’s fat content by doing the math your­self. Simply multiply the number of grams of fat per serving by 9, then divide that figure by the number of calories per serving. If the answer is 0.20 (20 percent) or less, then the food is acceptable.

Also, scan labels for the words low fat or nonfat. They can be used only on foods that meet certain criteria for fat content. (A low ­fat food supplies 3 grams or less of fat per serving; a nonfat food, less than 0.5 gram per serving.) Supermarkets now carry literally hundreds of low-fat and nonfat foods. What you see-and taste-just might surprise you.

With some foods, switching from the full­ fat to the low-fat or nonfat variety can take
some getting used to. For example, people who trade in whole milk for nonfat (skim) milk often complain that the latter tastes thin and watery. But after about 6 months of drinking nonfat milk, it tastes fine-and whole milk tastes too rich. “If you keep your fat intake down,” notes John Foreyt, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Research Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, “your fat cravings and preferences for fatty foods eventually decline.”

But as with full-fat foods, you must be careful not to overindulge in low-fat and nonfat foods. A study by Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and bio behavioral health at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, found that people often consume substantially larger amounts of foods that they know are low-fat or nonfat. And that means lots of extra calories-and eventually extra pounds.