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How to prevent stroke

How to prevent stroke

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Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie

Last week, we saw how stroke develops and what kind of devastation it can bring to a person. Throughout the ages, we have seen the emphasis laid on the prevention of diseases rather than their cure. On this page we have done our bit to promote that orientation. Most diseases are preventable and so this emphasis is seen as one which is well deserved. We saw evidence to suggest that strokes are of two major types, one being due to the narrowing and subsequent blockage of an artery and the other one being due to the rupture of another. Both are major events that could fundamentally alter a person’s life if death does not ensue. The clots are formed from elements within the blood and also from other components of what we eat resulting in clots formed of fat. In order to prevent the formation of these clots, therefore, we must be prepared to do the following things with all possible zeal.

Our level of physical activity must improve to the extent that climbing up a flight of stairs taking perhaps two steps at a time does not wind us. You should be able to do so across three or four floors before you begin to pant. Secondly, in our daily commute particularly in congested cities like Lagos or Port-Harcourt, sitting in your car or bus for more than two hours in a traffic gridlock on a daily basis is considered an unhealthy exposure and should be supported by a few minutes of stretching the legs. In a car, pull over at some convenient point and walk around the car for several minutes before you resume your journey. The same goes for long distance road travel when the stops can be planned and effected whether alone if travelling in your own vehicle or with the mutual agreement of other passengers if in a commercial vehicle.  For lengthy flights, travellers are encouraged to walk up and down the aisle a few times after every couple of hours to prevent this tragedy from happening. The older you are, the more your body needs interventions like these.

The other aspect refers to office workers who should basically do the same thing. It is now considered a workplace hazard for an individual to sit at a table for long hours at a time without a break as advocated above. It is partly in recognition of this problem that people who sit around at home in front of their television sets, game consoles and other forms of physically inactive relaxation are being urged to limit these sedentary activities. All these precautions are absolutely in order when you do not have any systemic disease like obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes. When there is obesity or a person is overweight, such weight must be brought under control in order to diminish the likelihood of suffering from a stroke. High blood pressure must be well controlled with a combination of the medicines recommended for you by your doctors, efforts to control your weight and a reduction in the consumption of salt, alcohol and cigarette smoking must be co-opted into the management plan. When the problem is diabetes, then there must be a concerted effort to control the blood sugar. Sometimes, these three problems are present in the same person. When that is the case, it is even more imperative to combat all three problems with the same single-mindedness.

The level of physical activity must be stepped up even in those people who have not previously been diagnosed with a disease condition. It is good to take up some recreational sport and perfect to embrace a competitive one. Games such as volleyball, golf, riding and swimming often seen as elitist are just wonderful for your body to maintain a certain level of physical fitness. The same goes for table tennis and lawn tennis. Certainly, the cost of acquiring the kits necessary for the participation in any of these sports would be the ultimate decider over which one is available to you. Some recreational sports like football and walking do not require enormous investments. An individual who takes up walking should do no less than eight to 10 thousand steps every day to burn a relevant amount of calories and maintain an adequate weight.

Stress in various forms is known to predispose a person suffering from heart attacks. The existence of certain conditions such as enumerated above only serves to make this more likely to happen. There is nothing to suggest that the trigger for a stroke may be substantially different and so people are encouraged to avoid undue stress be it emotional, physical or medical. A significant contribution to this level of good health is provided by the adequacy of sleep. Individuals who sleep six to eight hours every day are also less likely to become overweight, hypertensive or diabetic. As a result, many people are able to keep these illnesses at bay simply by fulfilling that very basic need. Proper sleep is necessary to allow the body as a whole to reboot and relax and also to diminish the inflammatory hormones in the system that promote and propagate diseases that could create the conditions likely to bring about a stroke.

Around the world today, 95 per cent of all the inhabitants of the planet will die of one disease condition or the other. The remaining five per cent will die from natural causes principally due to age. It is the adherence to the advice given above and to a large extent, some of that given over the years on this page that should help us avoid disaster. The skewed statistics shown above demonstrates just how little mankind has been able to imbibe the teachings of healthcare givers all through history in order to optimise their health goals. For even in this era, we have seen life expectancy rise in a great many countries, yet the majority of their populations will still die from disease-related complications and many of these are linked to some of the conditions mentioned here.

Finally, people who desire to prevent strokes damaging their lives must watch what they consume. There is a saying that we are what we eat and flowing from that mantra, our best dispensary is the kitchen where some of the most negatively impactful dishes are made today. A diet rich in sugar and other artificial sweeteners is harmful to our overall health and because of the potential of such food to build up cholesterol in the blood; every consumer is at risk of having a blood clot and therefore a stroke. The same goes for a high level of salt consumption, fried foods and red meat.

Ask the doctor

Dear doctor, please I would like to ask if there are drugs that can make one slim. How much do they cost? If there is any such drug used to burn fat in the body, I would like you to tell so that I can get it because my fat has made me lose self-confidence outside. Please help. 0902xxxxxxx

I do not know what drugs you are referring to here. The formula I know and one which I strongly recommend is that you should be eating less food and exercising more. By so doing, you first achieve physical fitness and then weight loss. Anyone who tells you that he has got a medication for you to lose weight is playing on your vulnerability.

Dear doctor, I am 15 years old. I had a skin grafting of skin from my laps to my feet sometime ago. Now my laps, where the skin was taken from, now has an extra layer on it. It is dark brown and very soft. It worries me because I cannot wear shorts. Please what should I do about it? I need the extra layer off. Thank you so much.  0806xxxxxxx

Well, when a human being has a wound, that wound would heal by forming scars. That is why increasingly, science is exploring ways to operate on human beings and cause the tiniest possible scars. The skin grafting you had was an effort made to cover a bad wound on your leg. I am therefore sure that there is a scar on that leg. So if your worry is that you cannot wear shorts because of the one on the thigh, you should also not wear shorts because of the scar on the leg. This is a reality you will have to live with for the rest of your life because any effort made to remove this soft scar on the thigh will lead to a larger one forming.

Dear doctor, I am a boy of 16 years. I started masturbating at age 14. Recently, I now feel pains in my dick region anytime I masturbate. I discovered that the pain reduces anytime I exercise or take plenty of water. What is the cause and what do I do to prevent it? I also regurgitate. 0701xxxxxxx

Regurgitation usually occurs from too much eating, from going to lie down soon after eating and also when you suffer from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Treatment is available for that if you visit a doctor to lay your complaint. As for your painful penis, I would dare to say that the repeated trauma you subject your penis to is what makes it painful. As a result, you are advised to stop your masturbation habit before you actually break your penis.

Dear doctor, I am a lady of 21 years. When I was eight years old, I was molested by my uncle. Since then I have never had sex with any man. But now, I have a boyfriend. We have not had sex yet because I told him I am still a virgin. Please doctor, am I still a virgin? Can blood still come out? 0813xxxxxxx

Your question is difficult to answer because what happened 13 years ago is not clear. If your uncle did not penetrate you then you are still a virgin and blood can still come out. However, you need to know that not every virgin has got an intact hymen. Some women are very active in sports and get to damage their hymen even without ever having sex. Such women are still regarded as virgins. In order to have a definitive view of your current status, you will have to be examined either by a doctor or by a midwife. Until then, we can only guess.

Dear doctor, I was the one that told you that my lower abdomen always itches me and that when I scratch it, a boil results. I told my friend about it and she told me to use “combo.” Please doctor, what is combo? And where can I get it from? 0811xxxxxxx

Quite frankly, you should have asked your friend what it is. I have no knowledge of combo nor of where to get it. I do remember that you were advised to see a doctor for examination so that a diagnosis could be made and treatment given. There is no shortcut to getting proper treatment madam.

Dear doctor, I am 23 years old. My penis is so small I do not know the cause. I thought it is supposed to be bigger day by day. What should I do about it since I have never had sex before? Can not having sex be the cause? Please help me because I cannot even talk to girls. 0816xxxxxxx

Well, there may even be no problem with you. It is possible that is the way you are made in which case we can say it is natural. However, in order to lay your fears to rest, you should consult your doctor. They will examine you and perhaps recommend some tests. That should be easy enough for you to do.

Dear doctor, I heard that tiger nuts found in the North is good for staying longer with one’s spouse during sex. What is your medical opinion sir and does it cause weight gain? Furthermore, how often can I take ice cream and cake? Thank you sir.  [email protected]

I believe that lots of claims have been made about tiger nuts but none of it has yet been proven through research. The thoughts of many people may yet be validated by such research. In the meantime, I know for a fact that many young men and women incorporate tiger nuts into their weight-reduction diet. Whether it accomplishes that too or not I cannot say with certainty. As for ice cream and cake, I would suggest a once in a week kind of treat. It tastes really nice but my personal preference is cake and yoghurt.

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