ARTICLE #1 American Diet Boosts Stroke Risk
ARTICLE #2 Drugs versus Diet for Stroke Prevention
ARTICLE #3 Loved One Suffered a Stroke?
Eat More Fruit and Vegetables, Less Meat and Processed Foods
By Sid Kirchheimer
Reviewed By Jeffrey Warber,DC, MD
on Thursday, Aug 01, 2004
Just another long list of reasons why to never follow ANY Atkins advice!
July 1, 2004 -- The diet usually recommended to reduce the risk of the nation's two leading causes of death -- heart disease and cancer -- is now linked to a lower risk of the third -- stroke.
Once again, researchers say the best edible insurance for reducing the risk of strokes -- which strikes an American every 45 seconds and kills one every three minutes -- is to eat more fruit, vegetables, and other high-fiber fare, and less of what most folks usually eat.
After tracking nearly 72,000 women for 14 years, researchers found that women who ate the most fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains were less likely to have a stroke than those who ate less of this healthy fare.
The less-healthy diet was more typical of the American way of eating -- more red and processed meats, refined grains, and sweets.
While these findings may seem obvious, there is a new twist. Past studies have investigated a possible link to stroke with individual foods and nutrients. "But this is the first study to examine how overall dietary habits impact stroke," says lead researcher Teresa Fung, ScD, a nutritionist at Simmons College of Health Studies in Boston and at Harvard School of Public Health. "Its importance is in pointing people to a general direction in their diet."
Of course, it's a direction you've heard before.
"Eat a plant-based diet that contains at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and goes up to include as many vegetables as you can handle," says Fung.
"That doesn't necessarily mean eating vegetarian -- you can have fish and chicken," she tells WebMD. "But you should eat as unrefined as possible, having healthy foods in their whole state. Even if you look beyond stroke, this kind of prudent diet significantly lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and other conditions."
In her study, none of the participants -- between ages 38 and 63 -- had known heart disease or diabetes when the research began in 1984. The study is published in this week's rapid access issue of Stroke.
Every two to four years, they provided information about their diet, lifestyle habits, and overall health. The women were assigned a ranking based on the lowest to highest amounts of foods they ate in a category of either a produce-rich "prudent" diet or the fattier "Western" diet.
By the end of the study in 1998, Fung found that women who ate the highest amounts of red and processed meats, refined grains, and sweets had a 58% higher risk of stroke compared with those who ate the lowest amounts.
In the "prudent" diet plan, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 22% less likely to have a stroke than those who ate less produce.
Lessons Already Learned
These findings back previous studies that looked at how individual types of food affect stroke -- with similar results.
Last month, some of the same researchers working with Fung found a 40% lower risk of ischemic stroke -- the most common type that's caused by a blood clot that impairs blood flow to the brain -- among men who ate the most fruits and vegetables compared with those eating the least. Researchers speculate it's due to the effects of a particular group of antioxidant vitamins, noting that those with the lower stroke risk ate foods with the most vitamins A and E, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and other beneficial nutrients.
These nutrients are in vegetables such as squash, carrots, pumpkin, kale, and spinach. Interestingly, that study follows one from last September on some 40,000 Japanese men and women tracked for 18 years that indicates the risk of death from stroke was 26% lower in those who ate yellow or green vegetables each day than those who ate them weekly.
Meanwhile, processed foods might increase stroke risk because they are often high in fats and salt. Some experts suggest that up to 75% of "hidden" salt might come from canned foods and other overly processed fare like deli meats.
"The role of saturated fats as it pertains to stroke is still under investigation, but saturated fats could play some role," Fung tells WebMD. "In essence, an ischemic stroke is much like a heart attack that occurs in your brain, and can result from atherosclerosis."
SOURCES: Fung, T, Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, July 2, 2004, rapid access issue. Teresa Fung, ScD, assistant professor of nutrition, Simmons College School for Health Studies, Boston; adjunct assistant professor of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. Hak, A. Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, June 4, 2004; vol 35. Sauvaget, C. Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, Sept. 19, 2003; rapid access issue.
Be careful what you read! Even your doctor can be fooled!
In a New England Journal of Medicine article entitle "Pravastatin Therapy and the Risk of Stroke" the abstract and conclusions drawn from this study show that the drug pravastatin (Pravachol) can reduce the risk of stroke. This conclusion is 100% FALSE. Even by this study's own standards. It is very easy to see how one can be fooled by the pharmaceutical companies into believing certain drugs can save your life.
This study and its results are complete junk science and blatantly mislead doctors and the public as to the outcome of this study. Because most doctors do not read the studies and only follow what the abstracts and conclusions state, you as a patient may be putting your health at risk.
The study in this reputable journal stated that pravastatin REDUCED the risk of stroke by 19 percent (remember this percentage because it will be compared to percentages of diet and lifestyle change).
If you read the details of the study you would quickly conclude that the results are far from the truth. What was not conveyed in the abstract and conclusion of the study was the real truth. Depending on which group studied there was an INCREASE in stoke with the use of the the drug pravastatin. Patients who were 70 years and older who were treated with pravastatin in the study saw 21% MORE strokes. Women in this study saw 26% MORE strokes. Finally, patients taking aspirin and pravastatin had 20% MORE strokes.
Where is this 19% decrease in strokes?????
Is there a way to truely reduce your risk of stroke???
You can reduce your risk by 22% simply by eating fish once a week. This or supplementing with essential fatty acids will naturally reduce your risk. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension) and you get it under control you can reduce your risk of stroke by 35% to 45%. Most strikingly, in the elderly, you can reduce your risk of stroke by 60% by exercising for less than two hours per week.
Even if the drug pravastatin did what it claimed why would you settle for 19% over the other percentages?
Why don't studies come out showing this?
Why don't doctors care enough for your health to offer these options?
It is because of the power of the pharmaceutical companies. There is NO PROFIT to be made from these non-drug approaches.
These types of studies are rampant so take great caution in how your health is cared for.
If you have a loved one who has suffered a stroke there are a few books that may help with their recovery.
Into the Blue: A Fathers Fleight and a Daughter's Return by Susan Edsall is one example.
Four years ago lifelong aviator Wayne Edsall was enjoying life's golden years, rebuilding antique airplanes and flying them over the Big Sky country of Montana. In a fleeting moment, a massive stroke suddenly left him unable to read, write, speak, perform normal functions and worst of all, he couldn't fly. The doctors gave his family a dire prognosis. The family knew that if Wayne Edsall couldn't fly he would rather not exist at all. Throwing conventional medical rehabilitation to the wind, Susan Edsall and her sister Sharon decided the best therapy for their Dad was one that would eventually lead him back into the cockpit of his biplane and into the air. Susan Edsall's memoir of their journey together, INTO THE BLUE: A FATHER'S FLIGHT AND A DAUGHTER'S RETURN, chronicles how the Edsall family proved the experts wrong in order to keep Wayne Edsall's cherished dream alive. This is a thrilling, beautiful and uplifting book - a miraculous story that will bring tears and laughter to all aviation pilots and enthusiasts.
Another example to follow is the book by Kate Adamson called Kate's Journey: Triumph Over Adversity.
Kate Adamson survived on-in-a-million odds to enjoy the success she has today. For every challenge we face, Kate's story teaches us how to meet those challenges with grace and valor. When Kate experienced a double brain-stem stroke her bright tomorrow turned into a dark timeless tunnel. The lessons she learned are a model for anyone who feels their goals are just out of reach. Kate's story connects the fragility of life with the power of the human spirit.