Tag Archives: Stroke

Heart Disease Lower, Stroke Risk Higher for Vegans and Vegetarians

Human head nerves model Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash
Human head nerves model Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Emergency medicine physician Zachary Lutsky, MD, has served as an attending physician in the emergency department at such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical. Through these roles, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has become familiar with such things as stroke prevention and recognition.

According to research from the University of Oxford, the risk of heart disease in people who have a vegan or vegetarian diet is about 22 percent lower than people who eat meat. This benefit is also seen in pescatarians, who eat only fish, though at a reduced incidence of a 13 percent lower risk of heart disease.

Unfortunately, this benefit could come at a cost. Both vegans and vegetarians were about 20 percent more likely to experience a stroke than people who ate meat. Specifically, they had a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, a specific type of stroke associated with greater amounts of damage than ischemic strokes. Not only that, but hemorrhagic strokes were more deadly.

To get these results, researchers examined nearly 48,200 individuals with no history of stroke or heart disease. Of these, 16,254 people were vegans or vegetarians, 24,428 ate meat, and 7,506 only consumed fish. Each group was followed for 18 years, and the researchers tracked the number of stroke and ischemic heart disease that occurred during that time.

At the end of the follow-up period, there were 2,280 cases of heart disease and 1,072 cases of stroke. Based on the results, about 10 more meat eaters out of 1,000 people develop heart disease over 10 years. Meanwhile, about three more vegans and vegetarians out of 1,000 subjects experienced stroke over the same period. While more research is needed, it’s believed that the increased risk of stroke is linked to a lack of essential nutrients in vegans and vegetarians.

Lifestyle and Medical Risk Factors of Stroke


Stroke pic
Image: webmd.com

Dr. Zachary Lutsky completed his MD in emergency medicine at Rosalind Franklin University’s Chicago Medical School and residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. Dr. Zachary Lutsky served for 12 years as an attending physician in the Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he saw a variety of medical conditions, including stroke.

Stroke occurs when part of the brain stops getting blood. Below are some of the lifestyle and medical risk factors of stroke to which you should pay attention.

Lifestyle factors

Unhealthy diet. Eating oily foods will increase the level of fat in the blood, which can result in blockages in the arteries.

Smoking and tobacco use. Smoking increases clot formation and thickens the blood, which increases the amount of plaque formation in the arteries.

Alcohol use. Heavy consumption of alcohol increases the blood pressure and risk of stroke. Alcohol can also create problems as it interacts with other medications.

Drug use. Recreational drug use is also a risk factor for stroke. If drug use triggers a stroke, it usually happens within a few hours.

Stress. Stress exerts a high toll on the body. Individuals with high levels of stress also often have high cholesterol and blood pressure, which makes them more likely to experience narrowing of the arteries, thus increasing their chances of having a stroke.

Medical factors

Hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure causes the heart to pump harder in order to circulate blood throughout the body. It ultimately weakens the blood vessels and may also damage important organs such as the brain.

High cholesterol. High cholesterol in the blood can block the normal flow of blood to the brain by creating a narrowed pathway or even a blockage in the blood vessels, thereby causing a stroke.

Irregular pulse. Atrial fibrillation, the medical term for an irregular pulse, is also among the risk factors for stroke. If the heart beats irregularly and rapidly, blood cannot be circulated quickly enough, causing slow blood flow and increased chances of a stroke.

Recognizing Early Signs of Stroke


Stroke pic
Image: livestrong.com

For more than 10 years, Dr. Zachary Lutsky served as an attending physician in the emergency department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. During that time, Dr. Zachary Lutsky saved the lives of many patients, including a stroke victim who later returned to the hospital to thank Dr. Lutsky and the rest of the emergency department.

The early signs of stroke may be remembered by the acronym “BE FAST.” The letter “B” stands for balance. Many patients who experience a stroke suddenly lose coordination or balance before the stroke occurs. This makes it difficult for them to touch their finger to their nose and affects their ability to walk in a straight line.

The “E” stands for eyes. One of the other early signs of stroke is a rapid change in vision, such as blindness in one eye or double vision.

The symptoms represented by “FAST” are more well-known signs of stroke. “F” refers to face drooping or numbness on one side, while “A” refers to arm weakness or numbness on one side of the body.

Speech difficulties are represented by “S” and usually include slurred or unclear speech. Many people experiencing a stroke will struggle with saying “The sky is blue,” so this sentence serves as a good test.

Finally, the “T” stands for “Time to call 911.” If any of the above symptoms are shown, call 911. Callers should write down the time the symptoms started and note if any symptoms have disappeared before emergency responders arrive.