A stroke could change your life (or end it) in an instant. But the damage that leads to a brain attack is often years in the making.
That’s why David Liebeskind, a professor of neurology at UCLA, uses MRIs and CT scans to detect narrowed arteries and other early warning signs. Even dental X-rays, which show arteries to the brain, can hold clues.
“Imaging shows changes over time,” he says. His prescription? Ask your dentist and doctor for copies of every imaging study you’ve ever had and stash them on a HIPAA-compliant site, like MyVault. That way, your doctor can compare your past results to now.
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Below are some more tips and tests to dodge the bullet:
1. Make Joe your bodyguard
“The antioxidants found in coffee have multiple health benefits, and research suggests that drinking three to four cups a day may significantly lower your stroke risk. I make a cup of Nescafé instant every morning. Then I drink two large cups of regular, brewed coffee during the day.”
2. Travel light, snack lighter
“Business trips are mentally taxing. I always pick up a bottle of water to stay hydrated and usually grab a snack like peanuts or cashews at the airport. The H2O, along with the essential fatty acids in the nuts, helps my brain stay energised. Nuts are rich in nutrients that aid blood flow.”
3. Carve for your cardio health
“I have a Skier’s Edge machine that I use for 30 minutes a day. Aside from making me a strong skier, it provides an intense yet low-impact form of exercise. People who do cardio regularly have higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a chemical that plays a big role in your cognitive function.”
4. Change your scenery
“When I’m stressed out, I think, ‘What can I control, and what is out of my control?’ One way to gain perspective is to just change your environment: take a walk outside. If I have to work during my free time, I do it quickly and then jump back to leisure. That way, I don’t worry about unfinished business.”
5. Shift your lift
“Demand more from your deadlifts by using a staggered stance for half your sets. By putting one leg behind you, you’ll be able to work your front leg and hip harder without sacrificing too much stability. This also helps you strengthen any imbalances between sides.” – BJ Gaddour, CEO of StreamFIT.com; author of Your Body Is Your Barbell (Rodale, 2014); creator of Men’s Health DeltaFIT Speed Shred
6. Watch your tongue
"When you finish brushing your teeth, stick out your tongue and look in the mirror. Changes in its colour and texture can presage a variety of problems. An unusually glossy surface, for instance, could signal an iron or vitamin B12 deficiency. Bring any concerns to your dentist.” – Dr Mark S Wolff, professor and chair, department of cariology and comprehensive care, New York University College of Dentistry
7. Back off the energy elixir
“In a Swiss study, men who drank an energy drink and did a mentally stressful task saw systolic and diastolic blood pressure spikes that were six and three points higher, respectively, than those of water drinkers. The jump could lead to heart problems.” – Dr Prediman Krishan Shah, professor of medicine and cardiology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles
Read more: 5 health mistakes you make every day
This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za
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