Tag Archives: stroke prevention

Stroke Falls to 5th Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

For most of my medical career, stroke was the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease and cancer. Just a few years ago, chronic lower respiratory tract disease surpassed stroke.

Stroke continues to fall in rank and fell recently to fifth place, overtaken by accidents (unintentional injuries).

Even non-fatal strokes can be devastating.

Reduce your risk of stroke by maintaining normal blood pressure, not smoking, exercise regularly, living at a healthy weight, limiting your alcohol consumption, don’t get diabetes, and limit your age to 55. It’s also important to seek medical attention if you have a TIA (transient ischemic attack).

I also think the Mediterranean diet helps.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

New Guidelines Recommend Mediterranean Diet for Those With Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack

MedPageToday has the details from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Here’s the pertinent quote:

It … is reasonable to recommend adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, legumes, olive oil, and nuts, and limits sweets and red meats.

But how much of those components? Click for my general recommendations

Does Olive Oil Protect Against Stroke?

Older adults with high olive oil consumption have a lower risk of stroke, according to French investigators.

Caprese salad: mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil

The Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, has long been linked to lower rates of stroke.  The French researchers wondered if that might be attibutable to higher olive oil consumption.  Triglyceride esters of oleic acid comprise the majority of olive oil, and oleic acid blood levels reflect olive oil consumption.

Have you heard of monounsaturated fatty acids?  Oleic acid is one.

Methodology

Over 7,000 older adults without history of stroke were surveyed with regards to olive oil consumption.  Oleic acid plasma levels were measured in over a thousand of the study participants.  Over the course of five years, 175 strokes occurred.

Compared with those who never used olive oil, those with the highest consumption had a 41% lower risk of stroke.  The researchers made adjustments for other dietary variables, age, physical activity, and body mass index.

In looking at the plasma oleic acid levels, those in the highest third of levels had 73% lower risk of stroke compared to those in the lowest third.

Comments

Results suggest that the olive oil in the Mediterranean diet  may help explain the diet’s protection against stroke.  They also support my inclusion of olive oil in the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet and Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Samieri, C. et al.  Olive oil consumption, plasma oleic acid, and stroke incidence: the Three-City StudyNeurology, Published online before print June 15, 2011, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318220abeb