How Women can Avoid Strokes
July 26, 2018
Did you know that potassium helps prevent a woman’s chance for having a deadly or permanently disabling stroke? A new study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine confirms that potassium-rich diets are able to decrease women’s stroke risks by 12% to 16%.
Strokes are one of the top five leading causes of death in the United States. Every year, approximately 795,000 individuals have a stroke, and more than 140,000 of them die as a result. Although some health problems that contribute to stroke risks are unchangeable (like family medical history), others – such as diet and lifestyle – are not.
Types of Strokes and Risk Factors
There are three main kinds of strokes: transient ischemic attacks (often referred to as “mini” strokes or TIAs), hemorrhagic strokes, and ischemic ones. Ischemic strokes happen when a blood clot obstructs blood flow to the brain, whereas hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and penetrates the surrounding tissue. Transient ischemic attacks are usually considered forewarnings for subsequent – and more serious – stroke events, and are generally the result of temporary obstructions in blood flow to the brain.
Some individuals are more likely to have a stroke than others are. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chance is for having a stroke. Having a family history of stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, physically inactive, and obese all factors known to contribute to people’s general stroke risks.
Female-Specific Stroke Statistics and Symptoms
Strokes are the third leading cause of death specifically for women (whereas for men, they are the fifth leading cause). The National Stroke Association (NSA) reports that 55,000 more women have strokes than men annually. Data shows that older women can be more susceptible to stroke events, which means they are also more prone to:
- Experiencing a worse recovery after having a stroke;
- Living alone when the stroke event occurs, and:
- Living in long term health care facility due to stroke-related disabilities after the event
Women can also present different symptoms than men when they have strokes. It is crucial that doctors are aware of these differences because the earlier a person is diagnosed the more quickly he or she can be treated; with strokes in particular, fast and effective medical intervention often makes the difference between life and death. Some female-specific stroke symptoms include:
- Sudden changes in behavior;
- General weakness;
- Hallucination, and:
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
On top of these symptoms, women can also experience many of the more well-known and typical stroke symptoms. These include a sudden weakness or numbness of the face, leg, or arm (especially on one side of the body), blurred vision, loss of coordination, a difficulty speaking, and more.
The Medical Findings on Potassium
According to the study’s researchers, a potassium-rich diet can be especially helpful for decreasing rates of ischemic attacks in women. The results – which were gathered after observing nearly 100,000 women between the ages of 50 and 70-years-old – show that potassium-rich diets inhibit general stroke risks by 12%, but ischemic ones by a whopping 16%.
Not only did the researchers find that potassium positively impacts a woman’s chance for having a stroke, but also that it reduces risk for those without high cholesterol and high blood pressure by more than 20%. However, the study’s findings also reveal that the majority of women fail to consume the recommended daily levels of potassium (the Department of Agriculture encourages consuming 4,700 mgs every day, but most women consume approximately 2,611 mgs/daily). Luckily, there are numerous potassium-rich food options that are easily accessible.
Plenty of different kinds of food are high in potassium. Some of the most potassium-rich options out there are:
- Winter squash;
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes;
- Fat free yogurt;
- Not-from-concentrate orange juice;
- Halibut and pork tenderloin, and:
Before making any dietary or lifestyle changes, it is important to consult directly with a medical professional. If you think you may be at a high risk for stroke and want to discuss the possible benefits of a potassium-rich diet, make an appointment with your doctor.
Medical Negligence and Strokes
Sometimes, healthcare providers fail to provide treatment that meets the accepted standard for care. When this kind of breakdown occurs, the results can be catastrophic or deadly for individuals. Strokes can cause long term or permanent disabilities, which can seriously alter someone’s quality of life. If you have questions or concerns about the medical care you received, please contact a representative at our firm who can help.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Victims of Medical Negligence
At Galfand Berger, our medical malpractice lawyers in Philadelphia are experienced in representing victims of medical negligence. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.