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According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and is a rapidly growing health threat for middle-aged women in particular. The most common type of stroke is called “ischemic stroke,” which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain.
A number of factors are likely behind the surprising rise in strokes in women, including:
- Increasing rates of obesity (women’s waists have grown by nearly two inches in the last 10 years)
- Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure. Sun avoidance also increases your risk of vitamin D sulfate deficiency, which may be an underlying cause of arterial plaque buildup (a risk factor for stroke)
- Rising prevalence of high blood sugar levels
Strokes Typically Occur Without ANY Warning
This is why prevention is so important. You simply will not have any warning signs indicating that you’re heading for a stroke in the future. And once you suffer a stroke, the damage, should you survive it, can be absolutely devastating.
I like to refer to most strokes as a brain attack, which is similar to a heart attack; the only difference is that the blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain instead of your heart. As a result, brain cells begin to die. Naturally, the longer your brain goes without oxygen, the greater your risk of lasting brain damage. This is one area where conventional emergency medicine excels, as there are emergency medications that can actually dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your brain, and if done quickly enough can virtually reverse any permanent neurological damage.
In order to be effective, you typically need to get treated within one hour. This is clearly one of the miracles of modern science, however it all goes to waste if one does not address the underlying conditions after the stroke. However, if you notice any of these signs of stroke, you should get help right away:
- Sudden trouble walking (dizziness, loss of balance, etc.)
- Sudden confusion
- Sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of your body only)
- Sudden trouble seeing
- Sudden severe headache