Disease Proof

Women: Strokes Up

Not good. Apparently strokes have tripled among middle-aged women in the United States. And it appears obesity is to blame. Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reports:
Nearly 2 percent of women ages 35 to 54 reported suffering a stroke in the most recent federal health survey, from 1999 to 2004. Only about half a percent did in the previous survey, from 1988 to 1994.

The percentage is small because most strokes occur in older people. But the sudden spike in middle age and the reasons behind it are ominous, doctors said in research presented Wednesday at a medical conference.

It happened even though more women in the recent survey were on medicines to control their cholesterol and blood pressure — steps that lower the risk of stroke.

Women's waistlines are nearly two inches bigger than they were a decade earlier, and that bulge corresponds with the increase in strokes, researchers said.
This news is not to be taken lightly, and, this graphic really drives it home:

Now, improving your diet can help. Here Dr. Fuhrman talks about stroke-preventing monounsaturated fats and essential fats from plants:
There is no longer any question about the importance of fruits and vegetables in our diet. The greater quantity and assortment of fruits and vegetables consumed, the lower the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.1

The best fats are monounsaturated fats and essential fats (omega-3 and omega-6) present in whole, natural plant foods, including avocados, olives, and raw nuts and seeds. Studies continue to show that consumption of raw nuts protect against both heart attack and stroke, without the risks of increasing heart disease and cancer, as is the case with the high consumption of animal-origin fats.2 When the fats you consume are from whole food, rather than oil, you gain nature’s protective package: a balance of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytonutrients.
So come on ladies—shape up your diet! We need you. We—I mean men—can’t be trusted to run the world by ourselves. Eat your veggies!
1. Gillman, M. W., L. A. Cupples, D. Gagnon, et al. 1995. Protective effect of fruits and vegetables on development of stroke in men. JAMA 273 (14): 1113-17; Manson, J.E., W.C. Willett, M. J. Stampfer, et al. 1994. Vegetable and fruit consumption and incidence of stroke in women, abstract. Circulation 89 (2): 932; Yu, M. W. H. H. Hsieh, W. H. Pan, et al. 1995. Vegetable consumption, serum retinal level, and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Res. 55 (6): 1301-05; Giovannucci, E., A. Asherio, E. B. Rimm, et al. 1995. Intake of carotenoids and retinal in relation to risk or prostate cancer. J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 87 (23): 1767-76; Potter, J. D., and K. Steinmetz. 1996. Vegetables, fruit and phytoestrogens as preventive agents. IARC Sci. Publ. 139; 61-90.

2. Fraser, G. E. 1999. Association between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in the non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70 (3 supp.) 532S-38S.
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