Although stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability, many myths surround this disease.
Some 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States alone. About 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic: They occur when a clot forms in a blood vessel supplying blood to part of the brain, with subsequent intensive damage to the affected area. The specific loss of function incurred depends on exactly where within the brain the stroke occurs, and on its magnitude.
Although approved therapies for ischemic stroke exist, to be effective they must be applied within a few hours of the event — a time frame that often is exceeded by the amount of time it takes for a stroke patient to arrive at a treatment center.
There are close to 7 million chronic stroke patients in the United States
According to a clinical trial led by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators, chronic stroke patients who received modified, human, adult, mesenchymal stem cells directly into their brains noticed restored motor functions.
For the trial, the investigators screened 379 patients and selected 18, whose average age was 61. For most patients, at least a full year had passed since their stroke — well past the time when a further recovery might be hoped for. In each case, the stroke had taken place beneath the brain’s outermost layer, or cortex, and had severely affected motor function.
The 18 participants, all of whom had suffered their first and only stroke between six months and three years before their injections, remained conscious under light anesthesia during the procedure which involved drilling a small hole through their skulls. While more than three-quarters of these participants suffered headaches after the procedure, there were no side effects from the stem cells themselves and no known life-threatening adverse effects linked to the procedure used to administer these stem cells.
In regards to improved motor functions, substantial improvements were noted in participants’ scores on metrics of stroke recovery. Perhaps most notably, there was an overall 11.4-point improvement on the motor-function component of the Fugl-Meyer test, which specifically gauges patients’ movement deficits.
Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable
Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol
are the best ways to help to prevent a stroke. These lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of problems like:
- arteries becoming clogged with fatty substances (atherosclerosis)
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol levels
- If you’ve already had a stroke, making these changes can help reduce your risk of having another one in the future.
5 things to do to prevent strokes
Here are 5 ways to improve your health before a stroke has the chance to strike.
1.- Watch your salt intake
Reduce the salt in your diet to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about a half teaspoon).
2.- Eat your veggies
Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, one serving of fish two to three times a week, and several daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy.
3.- Get moving
Get more exercise — at least 30 minutes of activity a day, and more, if possible.
4.- Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Have no more than one glass of alcohol a day. Make red wine your first choice, because it contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and brain
Stop smoking is one of the most powerful lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your stroke risk significantly, use quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine pills or patches, counseling, or medicine. Don’t give up. Most smokers need several tries to quit. See each attempt as bringing you one step closer to successfully beating the habit.
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