Best supplement to prevent a stroke: Folic acid may reduce blood clots in the brain

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When a blood clot disrupts oxygen-rich blood flow around the brain, the brain cells are starved of oxygen and begin to die; this results in a brain injury.

What are the warning signs?
Remember to act FAST if you see any warning signs of a stroke:

  • F – face. Part of the person’s face droops, making it difficult to smile.
  • A – arms. The person is unable to fully lift their arms.
  • S – speech. The person has difficulties with speech, which becomes slurred.
  • T – time. It is time to call 999. A person displaying these symptoms must immediately be taken to an emergency department for treatment.

Headway added “a sudden headache, confusion, dizziness, problems with communicating or vision” are also signs of a stroke.

Risk factors for experiencing a stroke include the following:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising enough
  • Eating too much food

Other health conditions that increase your risk of having a stroke are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • High cholesterol

Pharmacy Magazine cited Dr Gill Jenkins – an advisor to the Health and Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS).

Dr Jenkins said: “Folic acid is an essential B vitamin, which is capable of lowering homocysteine levels in the blood.

“This is important because high levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke.”

He continued: “Several large controlled trials and meta-analyses have shown that folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk of stroke.”

Thus, the HSIS have stated that taking a folic acid supplement could be a “wise move for all adults in the UK”.

This statement was in response to clinical research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In the study, 10,789 men and women with high blood pressure were followed for just over four years.

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The researchers separated them into two groups: those who took folic acid and enalapril; and those who only took enalapril.

Enalapril is prescribed medication used to treat high blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

The data revealed those who had taken folic acid (in conjunction with enalapril) had a “73 percent” risk reduction of a stroke compared to the other group.

Over the study period, 210 strokes occurred in the enalapril-only group, compared to 161 in the enalapril-folic acid group.

Effects of a stroke

The Stroke Association disclosed the condition can leave people with mild to very severe long-term effects.

Physical changes can include “muscle weakness, stiffness and changes in sensation”.

This can lead to difficulties with “walking, writing, and dressing”, which affect everyday life.

Communication issues can arise following a stroke, with survivors having problems with “speaking, reading and understanding other people”.

Many people will suffer from post-stroke fatigue, which takes many months of rehabilitation before it lifts.

Of course, the most tragic consequence of a stroke is the loss of life, or entering a vegetative state.

A vegetative state is when a person may seem awake but shows no signs of awareness.

In order to minimise your risk of experiencing a stroke you must look after your health.

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