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Naturopathic Steps to Stroke Prevention

A stroke is when there is compromised blood flow in the brain – due to either a blockage or a hemorrhage.  Of course, this leads to damage in the surrounding areas of the brain, leading to symptoms such as paralysis & immobility, mood and personality changes and dysfunctions overall.
As a naturopathic doctor, even though I help with the treatment of stoke, I know that prevention is the best way forward.  Also keep in mind if you already had a stroke, the risk of a repeat is 33% within 5 years, and 14% within one year.
I have compiled a few important points in terms of prevention of stroke…
1. Get tested and monitored for a broader range of risk factors, and address them with a prevention-minded doctor: homocysteine, fasting blood glucose, C-reactive protein, hemoglobin A1c, cholesterol, elevated free radicals, INR, fibrinogen, low vitamin D, low vitamin K2, low selenium, excess calcium supplementation, and the standard risk factors – blood pressure, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, high-estrogen replacement or birth control pills, atrial fibrillation.
2. Be active, participate in sports, and exercise daily to get to a healthy weight. Get checked by your doctor if you’re not sure if you’re ready.  Involve your family so they can benefit as well as for yourself.  Enlist the help of a personal trainer for getting you motivated and accountable, and don’t forget to have fun!
3. Eat foods higher in antioxidants. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm tracked over 36,000 women, aged 49-83 years, and found that women with the highest level of antioxidant capacity based on the foods they ate, had lower risk of all forms of stroke.  Examples of foods high in total antioxidant capacity include: spinach, peppers, asparagus, berries, olives, rose family (plums, apricots), extra virgin olive oil, white and green tea, and spices such as turmeric and cloves.  Consistent eating of fruits and vegetables and beverages that are high in antioxidant capacity have also been shown to reduce inflammation and liver problems.  Realize that good digestion is necessary to absorb the protective antioxidant components in your food, so make sure to address problems like bloating, heart burn, and indigestion.
4. Explore herbal medicine.  Laboratory research has shown that extracts from the Himilayan plant Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa) have neuroprotective effects that may be helpful in stroke prevention.  It has a long traditional use for problems such as indigestion, constipation, and immune imbalances.  Newer research also has shown it may benefit people with asthma, vitiligo, and liver diseases such as fatty liver disease and hepatitis.
For more information, or to book a naturopathic assessment and treatment program to improve your cardiovascular and overall health, call 905-597-7201.

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