In order of predominance, the leading causes of death in the U.S. are (1) cancer (2) cardiovascular disease and (3) stroke. The main cause of strokes are blocked carotid arteries (80%) and more than half of the people who have strokes have absolutely no symptoms prior to stroke onset.
Half of the Medicare costs go directly to patients with strokes. Strokes are either caused by ischemia (poor blood flow from the carotid arteries), a clot from local or distant tissues or from a bleed (arterial hemorrhage within the brain from weakened vessels or injury).
Since most of the strokes in the US are caused by narrowing carotid arteries, we look first at preventing this. Lifestyle plays a large role here. First, make sure your blood pressure is not high. Second make sure that you have plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet. If you are at higher risk than normal (overweight, smoker, high blood pressure), consider an enzyme called nattokinase to go along with the fish oil and it works as good as taking Coumadin, better than aspirin at preventing clot formation and plaque buildup.
If you are reading this article and you or someone you know suffered a stroke, the absolute best medicine you will ever receive for this is Hyperbaric Oxygen. (See insert at end of this article). Very few hospitals will offer this care to stroke victims, yet it should absolutely be the first line treatment to restore optimal oxygenation to the starving tissue.
There are genetic predispositions to strokes that go completely unknown until the first stroke, called Atriovenous Malformation. The only way one would know of such a condition is to have an angiogram to look for backflow of the vessels or to have an MRI, which does have some false negative outcomes.
Therefore, knowing which symptoms may suggest an onset of a stroke, or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is as follows:
* numbness or weakness of anywhere in the body
* dizziness, loss of balance
* trouble speaking or understanding speech
* severe headache
* loss of vision or sudden dimness
Prevention is key: