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Posts tagged ‘stroke’

Hot Peppers Could Help You Live Longer

By Claire Nowak,

Good news, spicy food lovers. You may outlive the rest of us.

Hot peppers are the unofficial superfood we all need. They help you lose weightjumpstart metabolism, and stimulate endorphins as a proven aphrodisiac. And based on a new study, they harness one more superpower: immortality.

Okay, it’s not that drastic, but hot peppers may be able to increase your lifespan. Researchers from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont found that the consumption of hot red chili peppers (not to be confused with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is associated with a 13 per cent lower risk of death, especially concerning deaths caused by heart disease or stroke.

These findings are based on 23 years’ worth of data collected from more than 16,000 Americans. Those who ate any amount of hot red chili peppers, excluding ground chili peppers, were considered chili pepper consumers. After 23 years, the death rate of pepper-eaters (21.6 per cent) was lower than the death rate of participants who did not eat the peppers at all (33.6 per cent).

The authors behind this study aren’t sure why chili peppers could delay death, but it could have something do to with capsaicin (the primary component of chili peppers) and its receptors in the body called TRP channels. Capsaicin improves digestion, has antioxidant properties that fight infections, and may fight cardiovascular disease. Certain types of TRP channels may protect against obesity.

So the next time you’re debating what kind of salsa to buy, opt for the hottest flavour. It could give you some extra time on this lovely planet of ours.


Danger signals from Stroke

His stroke was a wake-up call that led lifestyle change

Stressed at work? Beware of stroke

Hit by stroke while seven months pregnant

Recovering stroke victim: ‘You would never guess I had a stroke’

‘You would never guess I had a stroke’

Tomato pill could ward off heart attacks, stroke

Tomato pill could ward off heart attacks, stroke

‘Tomato skin’ pill could help cut stroke risks and slow down cancer.

LONDON: A capsule derived from lycopene, which gives tomato its distinctive red colour, could ward off strokes and heart attacks, says aCambridge University study.

The study found that taking the capsule boosted blood flow and improved the lining of vessels in patients with pre-existing heart conditions. It also increased the flexibility of their arteries by 50 percent.

Researchers believe it could limit the damage caused by heart disease and help cut drastically deaths from strokes.

Each pill provides the equivalent of eating nearly three kg of ripe tomatoes, daily. They also hope it could benefit those with arthritis, diabetes and even slow the progress of cancer, the Daily Mail reports.

Ian Wilkinson of Cambridge University’s clinical trials unit said: “These results are potentially very significant, but we need more trials to see if they translate into fewer heart attacks and strokes.”

Preliminary results from a two-month trial, in which the pill was given to 36 heart disease patients and 36 healthy volunteers with an average age of 67, showed that it improved the function of the endothelium — the layer of cells lining blood vessels.

It also boosted their sensitivity to nitric oxide, the gas which triggers the dilation of the arteries in response to exercise.

Studies have shown that eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in tomatoes, fish, vegetables, nuts and olive oil can significantly reduce cholesterol and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association.


Stroke – No. 3 killer in Malaysia

WHAT is a stroke? According to Nasam, stroke is the third largest cause of death in Malaysia. Only cancer and heart attacks kill more. It is the No.3 killer of middle-aged people. Nasam’s youngest stroke patient is a six-year-old girl.

Stroke is a form of cardiovascular disease but it attacks the brain which is full of blood vessels. The brain receives 20% of your body’s blood which carries vital supplies of oxygen and nutrients. When a blood vessel in your brain bursts or gets clogged, supply stops. That part of the brain starts to die. You have a stroke, very silently.

Brain damage affects your senses, speech and understanding of speech. Your behaviour, thought and memory patterns are altered. One side of your body may be paralysed.

Early signs


  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurring
  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of sensation and co-ordination
  • Dizziness, loss of balance
  • Sudden severe headaches

If you experience any one or two of these symptoms, go to the Emergency Department of a hospital.


Risk factors


  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Cigarette smoking
  • High red blood cells
  • Transient Ischaemic attacks (mini stroke)
  • Diabetis mellitus
  • High cholesterol
  • High alcohol intake
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Hereditary
  • Being male
  • Middle-aged
  • Once a stroke occurs, the risk of having a second stroke is between 10% and 20% in the first year

You can help avoid a second stroke through surgery, medication, hospital care or rehabilitation. These are all recognised ways of preventing another stroke. Nasam can provide you with guidance through its experience.


The National Stroke Association of Malaysia (

The Star

Strokes in young people ‘rising’, study finds

Stroke artwork

Research suggests there has been a shift in those experiencing stroke, from the old to the young

By Anna-Marie Lever Health reporter, BBC News

Strokes are becoming more common at a younger age, with about one in five victims now below the age of 55, research in the American Academy of Neurology Journal suggests.

The study followed 1.3 million people in a US region and found 19% of those experiencing a stroke in 2005 were in this age group, up from 13% in 1993.

This is despite a trend of overall falling rates of the condition.

The Stroke Association said the findings were alarming.

Report author Dr Brett Kissela said: “The reasons for this trend could be a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.”

The study looked at all people over the age of 20 in greater Cincinnati and North Kentucky over three periods in 1993, 1999 and 2005.

UK parallels

As well as a rise in the occurrence of stroke in the under-55s over this time, from 109 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 176 per 100,000 in 2005, the study also found the average age of those experiencing the condition fell from 71 years in 1993 to 69 years in 2005.

A stroke happens in an instant, but its effects can last a lifetime, leaving many with long-term severe disabilities”

Dr Clare Walton Stroke Association

Those in the oldest age groups saw a decline in the rate over the same period.

Similarly, in the UK there has been a 40% reduction in the number of people having major strokes over the past 20 years.

The decline in numbers is partly due to improvements in prevention, combined with an increase in healthy living public awareness.

This US study suggests a shift in the age of those experiencing stroke, from the old to the young, although experts say the findings need to be treated with caution.

Dr David Werring, a neurologist from University College London, said: “Stroke is usually considered a disease of older people, but this study reminds us that young people are also affected.

“It is possible that changes in how stroke is detected during the study could explain some of the increase.

“The proportion having a detailed brain scan by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is the most sensitive test for detecting stroke damage in the brain, increased from 18% to 58%, which might have increased the rate of accurate diagnosis – particularly in younger people who may have been more likely to have these scans.

Greater burden

“Nevertheless, if these results are true, and turn out to be generalisable to other populations, they could be very important because stroke in younger people can cause more lifetime disability.”

Stroke Symptoms

  • The face can drop on one side – unable to smile or eye might droop
  • Unable to lift one or both arms
  • Slurred or garbled speech

Experts suggest that similar lifestyles between the US and UK mean the two countries may experience parallel trends – and they warn of a major future public health challenge.

Dr Clare Walton, from the Stroke Association, said: “A stroke happens in an instant, but its effects can last a lifetime, leaving many with long-term severe disabilities.

“With the number of younger people having strokes increasing, greater strain will be placed on health services to support them with their recovery.

“This problem needs to be addressed now. In many cases, a stroke can be prevented and everyone can reduce their risk by making a few simple healthy lifestyle changes.

” For example, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting your blood pressure checked can all make a huge difference.”


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