Healthy lifestyle keeps issues of heart disease and strokes at bay - GulfToday

Healthy lifestyle keeps issues of heart disease and strokes at bay


Diet may influence stroke development through multiple pathways and mechanisms, including effects on blood pressure, blood lipids, glucose and body weight.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Cerebrovascular disease stroke, a consequence of the cardiovascular disease (CVD) — causing hypertension and the CVD — risk diabetes could be averted by way of DASH.

Adam Vital Hospital (Dubai) clinical dietitian Tasnim Bassam Hammami referred to the five-point Dietary Approaches to Hypertension (DASH) as October 29 (Saturday) is World Stroke Day and over at the Amana Healthcare (Abu Dhabi) are two sexagenarian patients blessed with new lease in life.

Hammami cited the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada charity organisation for the funding of research and education on heart diseases and stroke that stated “80 per cent of heart disease and strokes can be prevented by healthy lifestyle.”

“Prevention of stroke through diet is crucial to public health. Diet may influence stroke development through multiple pathways and mechanisms, including effects on blood pressure, blood lipids, glucose and body weight,” she added.

From HealthHub (Dubai Festival City), Neurology specialist Dr. Asmaa ElBallat noted that high blood pressure, heart disease, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity increase the risk for the number one cause of disability among aging populations: “Healthy food and routine exercise will greatly reduce the chances.”


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Al Zahra Hospital (Dubai) Interventional Cardiology specialist Dr. Behrad Elahi said stroke occurs two ways: “Stroke is the term used when a part of the brain is damaged because of a problem with blood flow. It happens when an artery going to the brain gets clogged or closes off, and part of the brain goes without blood for too long. It happens when an artery breaks open and starts bleeding into or around the brain.”

He differentiated stroke from heart attack — the other name of which is Myocardial Infraction — as both emergency situations, whereby “timely medical care is crucial,” are usually taken as one and the same: “Heart attack happens when one of the arteries that supply the blood to the heart gets blocked or partly blocked. When this happens, the part of the heart that normally gets blood from that artery is damaged. Timely medical care if crucial for lowering the damage to your brain and heart.”

Elahi added: “CVD is common in the general population worldwide, affecting the majority of adults past the age of 60 years.”

Thankfully, a 69-year-old Emirati grandmother who grew up in an active social setting surpassed the stroke that affected her left side and made her for a time, ultra-dependent on two people for all her basic functions and movement.

Rushed to the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, she was put on a modified diet since she consequently could not swallow. She was found to be suffering from bowel and bladder complications. At the Amana Healthcare from September 9, 2021, she underwent a series of daily four-hour extensive in-patient therapy to strengthen her upper and lower limbs to regain her function. She received instructions on safe swallowing techniques. She learnt the use of secure transfer methods from bed to wheelchair. Being the culinary expert and the life of the party, she envisioned herself enjoying once more fried rice moments with her granddaughter. Her faith and trust in God never faltered. These days, with improving mobility, speech, and independence, she is back to her old sociable and engaging self.

A 62-year-old globetrotting father and husband was admitted to the Amana Healthcare on August 28, 2021 for mild slurred speech, significant right upper arm and right leg weakness, and like the 69-year-old lady had to be attended to 24/7 by caregivers.

Strong-minded, he let his discovered hypertension and diabetes be his barometer to overcome stroke and so the progress of his stamina, strength, balance, communication skills, and mental health amidst all the available diet and nutrition sessions and the occupational/ physiotherapy facilities and specialists. He cheerfully welcomed visitors primarily of whom was his family. He did not abandon his favourite pastime of outdoor walking. Still in touch with those who had assisted him medically, the patient recently shared with them his recent trip to Europe.

DASH is simply the preference for fruits and vegetables of various colours; whole grains; healthy plant-based proteins such as beans, legumes, chia and flax seeds; healthy plant-based fats such as avocado, seeds and nuts that contain monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats; and small amounts of salt.

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