There's no stronger scare tactic into leading a healthy lifestyle than suffering a heart attack or stroke, which is why it may be surprising many survivors don't make changes needed to improve their health.
Many people at risk for heart attack are also at higher risk for stroke, since the underlying disease process - atherosclerosis - can block blood flow to the brain, just as it does in the heart. Although many people know chest pain is a sign of insufficient blood flow to the heart, they may not recognize the symptoms of inadequate blood flow to the brain. As a result, they can have a mild stroke and not know it.
Question: For the past six months, I've had two attacks of small bowel obstruction caused by adhesions. I've been told there's nothing I can do to prevent future attacks. Can you elaborate on this subject? - A.M., Cape May
Like close cousins, heart disease and stroke share a common lineage. Both emerge from a mix of nature (genes), nurture (upbringing and environment), and personal choice (smoking, exercise, etc). For most of us, personal choice largely determines whether a stroke lies ahead. Guidelines on the prevention of stroke suggest a healthy lifestyle can cut the risk of having one by 80 percent. No drug, device, or other intervention can come close to that.
More than 140,000 people in the U.S. die each year from stroke,
making it the country's second leading cause of death for women,
and the third for men. About 795,000 strokes occur each year. At
least one-quarter occur in people younger than 65, making it a
health subject important to several age groups.