Stroke Getting Younger! 5 Key Dietary Tips from Medical Experts for Prevention.
In the past, it was believed that strokes mostly occurred after the age of 65. However, with modern diets and lifestyles, people tend to overlook their physical warning signs due to their busy pace of life. Dr. Lin Shin-kuang shared that he has indeed observed a trend of decreasing age for stroke patients in his clinical practice, with men over 45 years old and women over 55 years old needing to be especially vigilant. Men have a higher smoking rate and different body structure, which can also contribute to these differences. Dr. Lai Ta-chang further explained that male hormones gradually decrease with age, and cholesterol is the raw material for making hormones. After the age of 50, physical energy and hormone production decrease, leading to an excess of raw materials and increased blood lipids. Therefore, he urged people to realize that exercise is not just a slogan, but can help increase hormone production and lower cholesterol levels.
Stroke high-risk group: three highs, smoking and drinking, overweight, lack of exercise, history of stroke
The three highs are the main killers of vascular degradation. Dr. Lai Dachang pointed out that high cholesterol can damage blood vessels, cell deposits can cause inflammation, and fibrosis and calcification can occur. High blood sugar can penetrate the vessel wall and also damage blood vessels; high blood pressure causes large pressure and friction on the vessel wall, and these long-term consumption cannot be repaired.
Dr. Lin Xinguang added that regular measurement of blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol is very important, especially for young people who are prone to neglect. In addition to blood pressure being easily self-measured, blood sugar and cholesterol must be determined by blood tests. He also reminded that if there is a feeling of palpitations and wheezing, there may be atrial fibrillation, and irregular heartbeats can also form blood clots. People who have had a stroke, smoke, drink, are overweight, do not exercise, and have a family history must be especially careful.
Seven Simple Things to Avoid Stroke and Five Key Dietary Adjustments
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association presented lifestyle recommendations in 2010, hoping to reduce stroke incidence by 20% a decade later. By simply following the seven easy lifestyle adjustments of “exercise, quit smoking, drink moderately, eat healthily, control blood pressure and sugar levels,” one can avoid stroke and heart attack. These include exercising for at least 150 minutes per week, maintaining a body mass index (BMI) below 25, quitting smoking, and improving dietary habits, as well as keeping cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels within standard values. According to Dr. Lin Xin-guang, there are five key dietary adjustments that one can make:
Eat more than four bowls of fruits and vegetables every day.
Eat various fish types, with two palm-sized portions per meal and at least six portions per week.
Eat high-fiber whole grains such as barley, wheat, and brown rice with at least one bowl per day.
Limit salt intake to less than 3.7 grams per day, equivalent to the size of one coin. For those who eat out frequently, it’s best to choose fish or meat with less salt.
Limit sugar intake to less than 450 kilocalories per week, equivalent to sugary drinks like 1,000 milliliters of cola or milk tea.
Do we have to cut down on oil, sugar, and salt to avoid delicious food? Dr. Lai Da-chang suggests that we don’t need to go to extremes. Although high-cholesterol food tastes better, we can still enjoy it after the age of 50, but we should reduce our intake to six or seven-tenths of what we consumed when we were younger. With increased physical activity, adequate sleep, and decreased weight and three high indicators, we can naturally avoid the threat of stroke.
A 41-year-old stroke survivor has successfully prevented a relapse for 15 years through careful diet and lifestyle management.
Dr. Lin Shin-Kuang reminds stroke patients that their dietary and lifestyle standards must be more stringent to avoid a second stroke. In particular, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) should be controlled below 100, which is much lower than the normal value of 130. Dr. Lin has encountered a case of a 41-year-old man who suffered a stroke and collapsed suddenly, being sent to the emergency room. It was found that he had narrow brain arteries and suffered from hemiplegia in one hand and one leg. A blood test revealed that his blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood lipids were all significantly elevated, and he was also slightly overweight, putting him at a high risk for stroke. Fortunately, through treatment, rehabilitation, and dietary improvements, he has maintained good health for 15 years without relapse, and his arterial hardening has not worsened.
Both cerebral hemorrhage and vascular obstruction caused by stroke pose a high risk to health, and the subsequent care and rehabilitation can also be a heavy burden. If the public has any questions, in addition to consulting a doctor during outpatient visits, they can also obtain relevant information from the public education sections of the Stroke Association and Stroke Society (https://www.stroke.org.tw/GoWeb2/include/index.php?Page=8-2).
Dr. Lai Da-Chang advises that as long as people pay attention to their diet, exercise during the day, and have sufficient sleep at night, they can maintain good health. The World Stroke Day on October 29th will also be held in Yilan with a series of events promoted by the Poh-Ai Hospital, and there will be plenty of information available to reference at that time.