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A stroke is like a heart attack of the brain

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Heart disease, or more accurately, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke both have the same root cause-a compromised circulatory system. After years of suffering a lack of the nutrients required to repair and maintain this system of arteries and veins in good health, an outright failure occurs that prevents the delivery of oxygen to certain tissues. If this happens as a blood clot in the legs, it is called peripheral vascular disease. If the "accident" occurs in an artery feeding the heart, it is a heart attack or, belying its seriousness, a cardiovascular "event". A cerebrovascular event is a stroke. This could more plainly be referred to as a "brain attack".

Strokes, unless they are the most minor (referred to as micro-strokes) are quite often very serious, even fatal, since the brain is at the center of life.

  • How Bad Is It?

Even though their cause is the same, heart attack and stroke are treated by the medical community as two separate diseases, although in all fairness, often discussed together. They rank as two of the top three killers of Americans with cancer falling in the middle. According to investigators at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, at least 731 000 strokes occur annually in the United States, 40% more than prior estimates of about 500 000 per year (Stroke. 1998;29:415-421). And a lot of these people are severly disabled, or dead, as a result

  • What do the Doctors Say?

While there are diagnosis methods and treatments (i.e. angiopalsty, bypass) for occluded (narrowed) coronary arteries, the conventional medical community has very little to offer the potential stroke victim. A July 16, 2002 article entitled "American Heart Association updates heart attack, stroke prevention guidelines" discusses new recommendations from its report "AHA Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: 2002 Update". There is little new in this report. More doctor visits is the key, we are told, to best ascertain risk assesment and prevention. This includes increased screening for high blood pressure, diabetis and cholesterol levels. A complete list of stroke "risk factors" does not include a word about nutrition. And what "preventive" messures do they recommend if they find you are "at risk"?

"Notable updates to the guidelines include:

* low-dose aspirin for people who have an increased risk for coronary heart disease; and

* blood-thinning drugs to reduce stroke risk in people who have atrial fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm that can propel blood clots from the heart toward the brain and increase the risk of stroke."

On the positive side they do mention exercise.

The underlying pathology of stroke and heart disease is a compromised arterial system due to lack of nutrients required for proper maintenance, especially vitamin C. The only mention of nutrition is a line in the list of "other recommendations" that says "An overall healthy eating pattern", whatever that means.

  • How About Vitamin C?

I refer you to the Heart Disease section for a discussion of Drs. Rath and Paulings work concerning chronic vitamin C deficiency as the root cause of atherosclerosis. In addition, what have other studies come up with?

The results of a 20-year Japanese study published in Stroke was reported on widely. An article about it appeared on the BBC site October 6, 200 entitled "Vitamin C may protect against stroke". The article stated:

"The study published in the journal Stroke, enrolled more than 2,000 men and women who had the amount of vitamin C in their blood assessed.

Over a 20 year period, 196 of them had strokes -
but the risk of stroke was 70% higher in those with the lowest levels of the vitamin in their blood." (emphasis mine., Rusty)

Risk factors for stroke include hypertension and obesity. Can vitamin C help these people? A 10-year prospective study published in Stroke 2002 Jun 1;33(6):1568-1573 states:

Background and Purpose: There are no prospective studies to determine whether plasma vitamin C modifies the risk of stroke among hypertensive and overweight individuals. We sought to examine whether plasma vitamin C modifies the association between overweight and hypertension and the risk of stroke in middle-aged men from eastern Finland.

CONCLUSIONS: Low plasma vitamin C was associated with increased risk of stroke, especially among hypertensive and overweight men. (emphasis mine., Rusty)

This study was reported on on June 7, 2002 at ivanhoe.com "Medical Breakthroughs". In their article"Vitamin C May Protect Against Stroke", they state "Results of the study showed men whose blood levels of vitamin C fell into the lowest quarter -- reflecting the intake of about half a glass of orange juice per day -- had a 2.4 times greater risk of stroke than those in the highest quarter. Men with high blood pressure or those who were overweight had even higher risk if they also had low blood levels of the vitamin, 2.6 and 2.7 times, respectively." This is pretty impressive stuff.

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