Who would have guessed Luke Perry would have died of a stroke?
He was young, vibrant, fit and full of life.
And so are you – right now.
But you are stressed out, struggling to make time for exercise, not sleeping, and picking up fast food more often than you’d like.
You’re overwhelmed easily, having more headaches, your blood pressure and cholesterol keep going up at each doctor’s visit.
You’ve ignored your symptoms because you have deadlines to meet and goals to achieve.
The timing isn’t right to distress.
But what if you are setting yourself up for a stroke?
Strokes are Silent Killers
Long terms stress causes elevated blood pressure that creates turbulent blood flow in your arteries.
Turbulent blood flow in the arteries creates small wounds in the arteries.
Platelets are called to the wound and form clots.
Clots can break away from the wound and lodge in arteries that lead to the brain.
Clots that block blood flow to the brain are one cause of stroke.
Pair that process with an inflamed body, a sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices.
And you get increased irritation of your arteries.
This process takes time with 75% of strokes occurring in people over 65 and risk of stroke doubling after 55.
But there’s still a 25% chance you could have a stroke if you’re under 65.
Luke Perry was 52.
Chances are he had risk factors that went undiagnosed.
What you don’t know about your health – could kill you.
There are controllable and uncontrollable factors that increase stroke risk.
What’s Your Stroke Risk
Your stroke risk depends on your lifestyle and genetics.
Here’s a list of stroke risk factors that you can control:
– Elevated blood pressure
– Birth control pills and smoking
– Diet high in salt, trans fat and cholesterol
– Physical Inactivity
– Carotid Artery Disease
– Peripheral Artery Disease
– Alcohol Abuse
– Drug Abuse
– Sleep Apnea
– Migraines (sometimes you can control these)
Here’s a list of stroke risk factors that you can’t control:
– Family history
– Atrial Fibrillation
– Heart Disease – heart failure, coronary artery disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, congenital heart defects
– Sickle cell anemia
What are the Signs of a Stroke
The signs of a stroke should not be ignored.
Timing is everything – get emergency care right away.
The acronym FAST is one to commit to memory.
F.A.S.T. – Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911
The following is a list of stroke symptoms:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you suspect someone is having a stroke ask them to do the following:
• Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to rise up?
• Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
• Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
• If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
How to Prevent a Stroke
Knowing your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure is key.
If you monitor your levels you can make changes to keep them in check.
Eating clean, reducing stress and moving more each day are crucial to stroke prevention.
Here’s a list of steps to take prevent strokes right now:
– Ask your doctor to test cholesterol with fractionation aka particle size included – ex:Quest Cardio IQ,
assess inflammation via C-Reactive Protein “crp-hs”, Complete Blood Count aka CBC – look to see if your platelets are elevated, ask your doctor to check homocysteine as it’s not in general blood test panels.
– Consider Boston Heart Diagnostics testing for advanced inflammatory marker and particle testing.
– If you are prone to stress check your blood pressure regularly
– If you are dizzy with stress check your blood pressure (BP) and see your doctor
– If you have visual changes with stress – check BP, see your eye doc – to look for increased BP effect on the vessels of your eye, see your primary care provider.
– Work on stress management to reduce BP and consider Hawthorne Berry or Carditone by Ayush Herbals as herbal therapies.
– Aids to lower cholesterol – CholestePure II Pure Encapsulations, consider niacin extended release (by prescription from your doctor), Moducare – plant sterols, Nordic Naturals ProOmega, eat clean, don’t eat hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils of any kind = trans fats – labels can say 0 trans fats if 0.5 g per serving but what if you eat say 4 servings a day?, limit fried foods, eat raw sprouted nuts instead of roasted nuts, limit fried potato/tortilla/root veggie chips, cook using expeller pressed oils over med-low heat; avocado oil high heat; use only unrefined (virgin) coconut oil on a limited basis as it is connected to elevating cholesterol in some individuals.
– Berberines – work up to 1500 mg nightly, Alpha Lipoic Acid 1,200 mg, Intermittent fasting, fix gut lining – MegaMucosa and MegaSpore probiotic – (code DrJWKrause to purchase**), low refined carbohydrate diet, eliminate sugars to control diabetes or lower blood sugar as even a daily 100 mg/mL fasting blood sugar raises risk and that’s still considered in the normal range for a fasting blood sugar.
– If taking synthetic hormones for menopausal symptoms or birth control consider alternative therapies or options.
– Stop taking synthetic estradiol orally – consider switching to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
– Stop smoking if you are taking birth control
– Find a weight management program that works for you
– Move more each day – dance, play, walk, wiggle, hula hoop, march
– Eat 30-35 grams of fiber a day – 6-8 cups fruit and veggies with at least 5cups veggies a day
– Test for and treat obstructive sleep apnea
– Have morning headaches evaluated for sleep apnea
– Have migraines evaluated via brain MRI
– Go to the ER if you have a first or worst headache or migraine
– Avoid drugs
– Drink in moderation – 1 drink a day for ladies and 2 a day males
Now is the Time to Assess Your Stroke Risk
According to the CDC an American has a stroke every 40 seconds.
Why spend another moment wondering if your stress and lifestyle are setting you up for a stroke.
Imagine knowing your risk factors, taking control of your health and finally making a plan to finally have a work life balance.
Wouldn’t it feel good to have a reason to take a mental health day from work and relax?
Better yet doesn’t it feel good to know what you need to do to prevent a stroke.
Now is the time to take action.
Take the American Heart Association’s Stroke Risk Quiz Right Now.
And get in touch with your doctor and have your risk evaluated.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you’re in luck, I have a podcast dedicated to this same subject. Listen HERE.