In order to function, the brain requires a constant flow of oxygen that the bloodstream provides. Strokes happen when blood and oxygen to the brain are suddenly cut off. When blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, the stroke is called ischemic. When the stroke occurs from a ruptured weakened blood vessel, we refer to it as hemorrhagic. Either way, brain injuries quickly follow.
Stroke is serious. Close to 800,000 people in the US have a stroke each year. That’s one every 40 seconds. The chances of having a stroke at some point in your life are 1 in 5 for women, 1 in 6 for men. Projections show that by 2030, an additional 3.4 million US adults aged 18 or older, representing 3.88% of the adult population, will have had a stroke, a 20.5% increase from 2012. Those who survive are more likely to have another stroke, and many face life-changing disabilities.
While there are some risk factors you cannot control, adopting a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your risk of having a stroke. The AHA suggests these brain-healthy behaviors:
PREVENT OR CONTROL HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure is the No. 1 risk factor for stroke. Know your numbers and take steps to control your blood pressure for a healthy brain. Learn more.
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
It’s time to get your heart pumping, helping supply oxygen and blood flow to the brain with exercise. Walk, run, dance, even rake leaves. Activity throughout the day can make a big difference. Get tips to get moving.
CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR
Left untreated, diabetes can cause a number of health complications. It’s important to get your blood sugar tested and under control.
Guess what? The same diet for a healthy heart, applies to a healthy brain! Foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains can lower your risk for stroke and heart disease. Give your brain the nutrients it needs to stay healthy with these eating healthy tips.
A healthy weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) can lead to health benefits like better regulation of your blood pressure. Get smart weight loss strategies.
A healthy brain requires normal blood flow and oxygen, which may be impacted by high cholesterol. Take steps to manage it.
Smoking is a leading risk factor for stroke and slow brain function! Yikes! Learn how to quit today.
There is also some good news about stroke prevention in the form of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. HBOT has been shown to help prevent and treat stroke through a number of different mechanisms. HBOT can be used to precondition the brain by stimulating angiogenesis, thus producing more circulatory pathways throughout the brain and potentially decreasing the chance of stroke.
Recent animal studies have indicated a protective effect of HBOT known as Hyperbaric Oxygen Preconditioning. A healthier brain is less likely to have a stroke. If one does occur, the damage and recovery are not as bad if your brain is healthier. HBOT improves brain health in the following ways:
- Stimulates the Creation of New Blood Vessels
- Promotes Optimal Blood Flow
- Decreases Oxidative Stress in the Brain
- Preconditions the Brain to Enable Neuroprotective Properties
HBOT can also help repair the damage done by a stroke – even years later! We’ll talk about that in our next post.
Is HBOT right for you? The experts at Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Western New York can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. Visit us at www.02wny.com or call us: (585) 426-8969