Lifestyle

Diet and the management of stress levels are important in stroke prevention and for those who have already suffered a stroke. The diet should be modified in order to reduce the amount of animal fats and proteins consumed— including dairy products—and to increase fiber intake. It is advisable to eat plenty of fruits and fresh vegetables every day, and to lose excess weight and exercise regularly If the stroke is thrombotic, the herb ginkgo biloba may improve blood flow. Smoking is inadvisable. Relaxation and meditation are beneficial, especially for those with high blood pressure or who are under stress. Women who have had a stroke or thrombosis, focal migraine or who have a family history of heart disease, should avoid taking oral contraceptives.

CAUTION

• If there are any symptoms of a stroke, see a doctor immediately.

• If a stroke victim loses consciousness, place them in a safe position (see page 270) and call 911.

CASE HISTORY

Thomas was a 79-year-old former engineer. Nine months before his consultation, he had fallen in the bathtub. Three months later, he fell twice more. He had since been complaining of unsteadiness, difficulty in writing, frequent urination, general muzziness, and poor short-term memory. His doctor had diagnosed a minor stroke. Thomas's blood pressure was high, and he showed all the signs of a right-sided stroke.

PERSONAL DETAILS

Thomas's character had changed since the stroke. He was by nature a leader, and was used to being in control of his life. He was thorough to the point of fastidiousness. He now felt frustrated because he could no longer drive and had had to slow down generally. His wife claimed that he was more attentive to her, but that at times he appeared to look through her. Thomas slept fitfully.

FOOD PREFERENCES

Thomas liked sweets, and salty and acidic foods, but hated pork, milk, and pudding. He claimed that pork and alcohol upset his stomach.

GENERAL DETAILS

Thomas tended to get hot at night and to feel as though there was a lump in his throat preventing him from swallowing. His stomach was tender and sensitive to touch.

PRESCRIPTION & FOLLOW-UP

Thomas was originally prescribed Anacardium or. because of his feeling of being detached from reality. This remedy improved his memory, and he felt more himself. His blood pressure came down, and he felt steadier on his feet. He was then given Baryta mur. and sent for physiotherapy. This improved his unsteady gait. His blood pressure was normal by now. He looked much better and was taking exercise, although he was still forgetful. Thomas then had a fall, after which he was prescribed Arnica followed by another dose of Baryta mur. He continued to pick up and even his memory started to improve. He is still making a slow and steady recovery, and to date has exhibited no further stroke symptoms.

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