Stroke and high cholesterol levels are as though father and son. If a person has high cholesterol level in their blood and does nothing to fix this, it is very possible they will experience a stroke at some point, according to neurologist of Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital Ilga Ķikule and BENU Aptieka pharmacist Sabīne Kozlovska.
What are the main risk factors for stroke and high cholesterol and what should be done to prevent them? Experts explain.
«After a stroke, a person’s brain will no longer be as it was before the stroke. Never. Stroke always damages the brain. This is why doctors are always happy to see patients leave hospital on their own and drop bad habits to avoid becoming a burden for their family,» says the neurologist. She adds that doctors have to deal with stroke victims very often: ‘Becoming a burden only serves to develop depression and negativism.’
To prevent this
The risk of getting a stroke increases after the age of 55. This means there is an unavoidable risk factor – age. Genetics also contribute to the risk – there are certain types of strokes that are inherited from parents, experts explain.
Women who suffer from migraine are also at risk of suffering a stroke. There are risk factors that can be corrected – starting with lifestyle, doctors explain. ‘Healthy diet is one answer. Vegetables, grain products, olive oil, low-fat dairy products. Limiting salt intake is also a good idea. Increasing physical activities helps reduce cholesterol levels in blood. Moderately intense physical activity is needed. Cycling is a good option,’ says the neurologist.
Risk factors people can influence
Doctors say the first factor to consider is high blood pressure. This is true for 80% of stroke patients. ‘Blood vessels in the brain react to high blood pressure. If a person has high blood pressure for a long time, this means blood vessels are under constant spasms and remain tense. Micro-cracks tend to form over time. High levels of cholesterol also contribute to making blood vessels weak. All too often, however, people have no idea of their high blood pressure. Blood pressure should be below 140/90 mmHg. Optimal blood pressure 120/80 mmHg,’ experts explain.
Stroke appears suddenly, experts warn.
-A person feels healthy, and then suddenly symptoms appear;
-Often stroke symptoms surface in the form of partial paralysis. Facial asymmetry, speech impediment are also symptoms of a stroke;
-Immediate medical assistance is needed if this is the case!
-Clot-busting drugs can help only in the first three, maximum four and a half, hours from the moment stroke symptoms first appear. This can have the best effect.
What can protect from stroke?
1.Regular physical exercise. 30 minutes a day.
2.Normal, stable blood pressure. 120/80 mmHg is ideal blood pressure. It should not be higher than 139/89 mmHg.
3.Normal cholesterol levels. For a healthy person under the age of 40, low density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood should be maintained at 3 mmol/l. Optimal level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol for people aged 40-50 years is 2.6 mmol/l.
4.Stable glucose levels in blood. 5.6 mmol/l is optimal.
5.Atrial fibrillation requires medical treatment!
6.Smoking should be dropped entirely!