Stroke survivors tell their story in emotional NHS advert
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Strokes usually strike when blood clots become blocked in one of the arteries feeding the brain, and many factors can trigger this. But one of the most significant precursors of stroke is high blood pressure, which is strongly implicated in the risk of blood clots. Foods that are vilified for their associations with hypertension usually contain high volumes of salt. According to one health body, one commonly used household ingredient may also “cause” strokes.
Stroke claims around 32,000 lives in England each year, but death rates have decreased by a significant 49 percent in the last 15 years.
It is now believed that up to 90 percent of incidents are preventable through significant lifestyle changes.
There are myriad factors that boost one’s risk, but the worst culprits are high blood pressure, lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking.
Of these four risk factors, the one that carries the most major implications is high blood pressure, which is rife in the UK.
READ MORE: Stroke: The ‘top’ food which could ‘reduce’ risk and lower blood pressure
Patients with hypertension are generally advised against sodium-containing ingredients, but some safe-sounding ingredients may be equally detrimental.
The Medical Centre Make Health Happy, explains that “foods that can cause stroke” include baking soda, baking powder and MSG.
According to a case report published in the journal Emergency Medicine: “Baking Soda is a universally available household product.
“It’s generally well tolerated by abuse and overdose can cause toxicities with serious metabolism and neurological complications.
“Despite its widespread use severe toxicity and fatality from baking soda overdose is very rarely reported in medical literature.”
The authors of the report detail the case of a patient who presented with acute respiratory failure and ischemic stroke after ingestion of large volumes of baking soda.
The authors continued: “Our case highlights a severe toxicity from baking soda that leads to […] acute cerebral ischemic stroke that resulted in fatality.”
“All contain sodium in them and are often found in incased food. One wouldn’t think of baked foods as having high sodium in them but in fact, they do.
“Avoid eating processed baked foods, especially those that come directly from the store already baked.”
How to reduce the risk of stroke
Age increases susceptibility to stroke, but the early impetus to make lifestyle changes could significantly lower one’s risk.
In fact, current guidelines on stroke prevention suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle could slash the risk of having a stroke by 90 percent.
One of the first port-of-calls in stroke prevention is the efficient management of blood pressure.
When the pressure in the veins surpasses a certain threshold, the risk of blood clot formation rises drastically.
But other conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, carry a fivefold risk of having a stroke.
Harvard Health notes: “Atrial fibrillation is a form of regular heartbeat that causes clots to form in the heart. Those clots can then travel to the brain, producing a stroke.”
Other factors shown to accelerate clot formation include smoking, which thickens the blood and increases plaque build-up in the arteries.
Smoking cessation is in factor one of the “most powerful lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your stroke risk significantly,” according to Harvard Health.
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