Hold your breath
You can do this when you are around a smoker. University of Auckland researchers found that people exposed to second-hand smoke are 82 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than those who never inhale. It seems that carbon monoxide promotes clot formation by interfering with nitric oxide, a biochemical that relaxes blood vessels. To get rid of every single bit of carbon monoxide after a night at the bar, you will have to breathe fresh air for about eight hours. But most of the carbon monoxide will be gone from your body in the first hour, according to Laurence Fechter, a professor of toxicology at the University of Oklahoma. So on your way home, make sure you roll down the car windows and start sucking in some clean air.
Research suggests that people with high blood levels of this amino acid are more likely to stroke out than those with low readings. Extra folate will help reduce the risk, but only for some people. “50 to 60 per cent will not respond with lower homocysteine,” said Dr. Seth J. Baum, medical director of the Mind/Body Medical Institute, a Harvard affiliate. Dr. Baum recommends 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of folate, plus 25 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6, 1,000 mcg of B12, and 1,800 mg of the amino acid N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). “With folate, B6, B12, and NAC supplements, almost everyone will have normal homocysteine levels,” said Dr. Baum.
Pick up an iron supplement
Aerobic exercise is anti-stroke medicine. If you cannot run or cycle to save your life; then, lift. Dr. Jerry Judd Pryde, a physiatrist at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles said: “Regular resistance training decreases blood pressure, elevates HDL cholesterol, lowers LDL cholesterol, and decreases the stickiness of the blood.” If you do not already weight-train, try the American Heart Association programme: Lift weights two or three times a week, targeting the major muscle groups. For each of the following, choose a weight you can lift eight to 12 times at most, and do one set to fatigue: bench press, shoulder press, lying triceps extension, biceps curl, seated row, lat pull down, crunch, squat, Romanian dead lift and calf raise.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 28, 2013.