Strokes have become an all-too-common occurrence in the United States in the last decade. This increase is why stroke is now considered the fourth leading cause of death in this country and why scientists and medical professionals are urgently trying to answer the call for new treatments to prevent stroke.
One such theory is that vitamin C consumption can be linked to a lower risk of stroke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 130,000 people will die annually from a stroke, which means one person every four minutes. Of the 795,000 reported strokes each year, 610,000 of them are a patient's first stroke. Strokes can also lead to irreversible brain damage that can lead to life-long disabilities that prevent some from working, going to school or carrying out everyday tasks.
Strokes in the U.S. are most prevalent among African Americans, followed by Hispanics and then white Americans. Individuals who smoke or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol have a much higher risk for stroke. This risk also increases with age, but a person can suffer a stroke at any age -- more causes of younger stroke patients gave occurred in recent yeas. More and more women are also suffering strokes.
What Is a Stroke?
There are two types of stroke -- ischemic and hemorrhagic. In an ischemic stroke, the brain's supply of oxygen-rich blood is cut off for some reason and unable to pass through the arteries. One possible cause is a blood clot. Just like the rest of the body's vital organs, the brain needs oxygen to control movement, memory, language and more. When the brain's source of oxygen is cut off for some reason, a stroke occurs.
In a hemorrhagic stroke is a result of too much pressure on the brain caused by excess blood from a leaking or ruptured artery. The bleeding can occur within the brain or between the brain and the outlying tissues that surround it. This pressure will also cause cell damage and death and must be relieved as quickly as possible to save a patient's life. This is the type of stroke that the new research focuses on preventing.
In either situation, the cells begin to die in a matter of a few minutes, causing damage that can be irreversible. This is why getting medical attention as soon as possible is crucial for survival and long-term health. Here are the sudden-onset symptoms of stroke everyone should be know:
Numbness is the face or limbs, especially if isolated to one side of the body
Loss of vision
Poor coordination or balance or difficulty walking
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately.
The Latest Research
A new study authored by Stéphane Vannier from Pontchaillou University Hospital in Rennes, France found vitamin C lacking in blood samples of study participants who had experienced stroke before. For the study, 65 patients who had suffered from a stroke were compared with 65 healthy patients who had not. While high blood pressure, weight and alcohol consumption were also identified as common risk factors in the study, it was the vitamin C deficiency that stood out.
Dr. Vannier said more research is certainly needed to determine vitamin C's role in preventing stroke, but a possible reason is that is may lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) which can eventually cause blockage, as well as weakening of the arteries in the brain, which can cause them to leak or burst.
This information was released by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), as the study has yet t be published in a medical journal. The AAN will hold their annual conference in April and will release the remainder of the research related to this study then.
Getting More Vitamin C
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 mg per day in adult males and 75 mg per day in adult females. You can get more vitamin C into your diet by consuming citrus fruits as well as papaya. Vegetables like broccoli are also high in vitamin C. You can also find vitamin C supplements in a variety of strengths. Vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant within the body, helping to prevent free radical damage, and supports the health of the skin as well as wound healing.
Before adding a vitamin C supplement your daily routine, speak with a doctor, especially if you're currently being treated for heart disease or high blood pressure or are pregnant or nursing.
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