Tag Archives: blood pressure

Stroke And Judgement

When blood carrying oxygen cannot properly get to the brain, it’s called a stroke. It is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States. People who lead sedentary lifestyles, are overweight, or have high cholesterol are likely to get strokes. Stroke often affects people with type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, or cardiovascular disease. Tobacco smoke constricts the blood vessels and makes stroke more likely. Other risk factors are not about lifestyle in the same way. These fixed factors include being male, being over 55, being black, and having a family history of stroke or heart attack. People who have had a stroke already are more likely to have another, and should be especially careful.

Stroke, naturally, affects brain functioning. In particular, a stroke means a small portion of the brain is destroyed—how small a portion depends in part on how quickly someone with a stroke is able to get treatment. Often—though not always—stroke survivors experience some cognitive deficit after the incident. Now scientists have found that the reverse is also true: people with dementia or cognitive impairment may be at higher risk of stroke. The exact reason for this is unclear. It may be that both cognitive impairment and stroke are the result of cardiovascular problems. It is known that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with the same risk factors as type 2 diabetes, both of which have been linked with obesity.

Another thing stroke has been shown to effect is moral judgment. This has long been suspected—the stereotype of the elderly person who shows no signs of dementia but has no filter and is uninhibited—but actual evidence has been scant. now a study has quantified that. The researchers found that people who have survived strokes are less likely to punish people for bad intentions, provided those intentions were not realized, than people who have not had strokes. Study subjects were asked to evaluate the behavior of the protagonist in each of four scenarios: not causing harm, accidentally causing harm, a failed attempt to cause harm, and intentionally causing harm. The stroke patients were more forgiving in the third scenario than patients with no damage to the brain.

Stroke Prevention And Recovery

Nearly 800,000 Americans get stroke every year. Stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted; if the interruption lasts more than a few seconds it can cause permanent damage to brain functions, or even death—stroke is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States. The major symptoms are drooping on one side of the face (most obvious if the person is trying to smile), slurred speech, and difficulty raising their arms. Someone having a stroke may also have seizures, fainting, or blurred vision.

When someone is having a stroke, treatment must be started immediately, which means prevention is a much more useful strategy for addressing stroke danger than hoping it can be treated in time after the fact. State of mind and mental health have a lot to do with stroke risk. In one study, high-anxiety people were found to be a third more likely to suffer stroke than people with more normal anxiety levels. Anxiety is associated with high blood pressure, and bringing down blood pressure is a pillar of stroke prevention. Smokers who quit, for example, are less likely to suffer stroke because they are less likely to have chronic hypertension. Maintaining a healthy diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables and avoiding saturated fats, can also lower stroke risk.

Another way people can get their blood pressure under control is sunlight. In one study, people who live in sunny areas were found to have a lower stroke risk than people in darker parts of the world. The study used models developed by NASA to determine the sunniest places to lie, considering latitude and longitude, air quality, cloudiness, and other factors. More recent research has confirmed the connection, showing that vitamin D is so important to healthy blood pressure levels that for people with severe chronic hypertension, the increased risk of skin cancer from more UV exposure may be more than offset by the beneficial blood pressure effects.

Research is also spurring advances in stroke recovery. Core stabilization exercises are used by stroke patients to help them relearn how to walk and move independently. Scientists found that real-time video feedback, which allows these patients to monitor their own movements as they are making them, helps facilitate this relearning process. In a different study, doctors used motion capture technology, used for virtual costume computer effects in movies, to assess patients’ movement function, in order to focus treatment.