Health Front: Long New List of People Susceptible to Early Stroke
By DR. JERRY DeCAPUA
•Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have more bleeding strokes at an earlier age than other people, independent of methamphetamine abuse, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association International Conference 2013. Drug abuse from methamphetamines causes small ruptures in brain blood vessels, “but Native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders are experiencing hemorrhagic stroke at younger ages without meth use, but possibly due to poor vascular health,” said Kazuma Nagagawa, M.D., University of Hawaii.
Native Hawaiians were an average 54 years when they had a hemorrhagic stroke compared to 68 years of age for whites. Native Hawaiians had twice the amount of diabetes and more than twice the number of untreated high blood pressure when compared to whites. Close to 20 percent of strokes occurred before the age 45 due to methamphetamine abuse. Researchers suggest more focus is needed on controlling high blood pressure, diet management and diabetes.
• The scrumptious Southern deep fried diet might explain the “Stroke Belt.” The Southern diet is probably the most commonly cited explanation that people give for stroke risk. Fried and other characteristically Southern foods pack a triple punch in terms of stroke risk. High fat and salt content increase high blood pressure and cholesterol, respectively, and diets laden with fried foods tend to be low in potassium-rich foods such as tomatoes, melons and avocados, which counteract the effects of sodium (salt).
A research team has conducted a nationwide survey of more than 20,000 adults over the age of 45 and looked at some dietary patterns to find out which adults had a stroke. The people who ate foods such as fried chicken, fried potatoes, processed meats and salty greens nearly every day were 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who rarely ate those foods. The University of Alabama study also revealed that non-whites in the southern states were more likely to dine with the stroke diet. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in North America.
• Many Americans are taking zinc supplements to zap colds, and a new study seeks to explain how the mineral works. Zinc helps fight infections by balancing the immune system’s response, according to the study led by Daren Knoell, a professor of pharmacy and internal medicine at Ohio State University. The University research team wanted to study why taking zinc at the start of a cold seems to ease the effects of the illness, and any strategic manner that it should be therapeutically given. They knew that about 2 billion people worldwide, including 40 percent of the elderly in the United States have a zinc deficiency.
The researchers found that the essential mineral works by stopping the action of a protein known to play an important role in the immune response to infection. As a result, it prevents out-of-control inflammation. After analyzing human cell culture and animal studies, the researchers found that a specific protein draws zinc into infection-fighting cells where it balances the immune response. They found that a deficiency in zinc developed significant inflammation in response to sepsis, or any blood infection.
• Aging bikers appear to be three times more likely to get injured while driving a motorcycle. Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which monitors hospital emergency departments, the researchers found that injuries to motorcyclists over 50 increased by 247 percent.
Biker enthusiasts that are retired or near retirement had a greater percentage of severe injuries like fractures and damaged internal organs. More and more aging Americans seem to desire an easy rider road trip that begins at retirement and attempts to regain a youthful sense of freedom. Grandpa’s new Harley needs to come with a good Last Will and Testimony as well as a helmet.