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The Connection Between Stroke and Metabolic Health

Metabolic health signifies healthy blood glucose levels, triglycerides, blood pressure, waist circumference, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. When a person is metabolically healthy, the body efficiently metabolises and generates energy without causing unhealthy blood glucose, lipid profiles, and blood pressure spikes. Also, good metabolic health lowers the risk of developing diseases such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and liver disease. 

Various lifestyle components influence metabolic health, such as dietary patterns, physical activity, sedentary time, education and awareness, and other lifestyle habits. In addition, food choices, metabolism, gut microbiota, exercise, sleep, stress, age, sex, and genes contribute to metabolic health. 

One of the best ways to improve your metabolic health is to use HealthifyPRO2.0, which comes with metabolic panel testing that shows the state of the parameters. Once you know the state of your metabolic health, you can track your metabolic health and glucose levels continuously. In addition, HealthifyPRO 2.0 provides the user’s data-driven analysis based on the impact of food intake and wrong lifestyle choices like sitting at a place for a long time on your metabolic health. It happens in real-time with instructions from a coach who suggests corrective actions that improve your metabolic parameters. As a result, you can bring in measurable changes through a better diet plan and lifestyle.

Research suggests that stroke is the second most common cause of death and a leading cause of disability. It is a clinical syndrome of three types; ischemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage, and subarachnoid haemorrhage. Strokes occur when the blood vessels either burst or are blocked, causing hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes, respectively. Various factors influencing stroke are age, sex, ethnicity, hypertension, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, waist circumference, dietary pattern, physical inactivity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, alcohol consumption, cardiac diseases, and genetics.

Enhances the basal metabolic rate and promotes weight loss.Reduces the risk of chronic non-communicable metabolic disorders such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancerElevates mood and decreases anxiety, stress, and depressionIncreases cognitive abilities such as memory, learning, concentration, and comprehensive skillsPrevents constant food cravings by regulating leptin levels and promoting satiety levels.Improves the immunocompetency of an individual and helps combat disease-causing factors.Detoxifies the body by flushing out toxic materials accumulated in the body.Improves blood circulation and delays the progression of ageing signs such as fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and skin saggingSpeeds up the absorption and transportation process of micronutrients.Promotes the smooth functioning of body systems such as the digestive, circulatory, and othersImproves energy levels and makes one feel energetic throughout the day.Enhances sleep quality and quantity and prevents the progression of sleep disorders such as insomniaImproves fertility and sexual health by preventing the risk of obtaining sexual metabolic disorders such as PCOS and PCOD

The HealthifyMe Note

Food choices, activity level and other lifestyle behaviours all have an impact on metabolic health. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and liver disease are all risk factors for developing metabolic diseases.

Metabolic syndrome is a progressive condition of metabolic abnormalities, including obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance. These abnormalities are often detected and monitored via serum biomarkers. 

Serum biomarkers to detect metabolic syndrome:

Waist circumference: more than 40 inches for males and 35 inches for femalesElevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure: ≥120/80 mm Hg.Raised triglyceride levels (≥ 150 mg/dl).Reduced HDL cholesterol levels (less than 35 mg/dl in males and less than 39 mg/dl in females).Raised fasting blood glucose levels (above 110 mg/dl)

Obesity and insulin resistance are causative factors. In addition, they are responsible for developing cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, vascular dysfunction, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Therefore, cardiovascular disease is a primary outcome in people with metabolic syndrome. In addition, people with metabolic syndrome are susceptible to other health conditions such as PCOS, fatty liver, gallstones, asthma, cancer, and sleep disorders. 

The risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure and high fasting glucose levels (above 110 mg/dl). Furthermore, a case-controlled study shows that hypertension, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, diet risk score, regular physical activity, diabetes mellitus, alcohol intake, psychosocial stress, and cardiac symptoms can contribute to stroke risks for 88.1%. 

Studies indicate that people with metabolic syndrome have a higher chance of having a stroke than people without metabolic syndrome. In addition, the findings show that metabolically unhealthy individuals can prevent ischemic stroke by taking treatments to reduce insulin resistance.

Leptin is a hormone used for regulating body weight by suppressing hunger. It enhances fat reduction, prevents food cravings, and promotes satiety. However, leptin is a risk factor for obesity-related atherosclerosis, leading to ischemic stroke. Studies suggest the effect of leptin on systolic and diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, arterial thrombosis, angiogenesis, platelet aggregation, and inflammatory vascular responses. As a result, it may show leptin’s role in developing cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Adiponectin hormone gets released by adipose tissue to help insulin sensitivity and inflammation. Adiponectin hormone levels decrease as the number of metabolic syndrome components increases. Also, a study shows that adiponectin levels are negatively associated with waist circumference, visceral fat, serum triglycerides, fasting plasma glucose, fasting plasma insulin, and blood pressure. In addition, it is positively related to HDL cholesterol levels. Low adiponectin levels implicate the development of several health conditions such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and stroke. 

Relation Between Stroke and Insulin Resistance

Insulin hormone helps to regulate the glucose levels in the body. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of muscles, liver and adipose tissue generally do not respond to insulin hormone resulting in increased blood glucose levels in the body. Insulin resistance is also known as impaired insulin sensitivity. Because of this, the pancreas release more insulin to help glucose absorb in the cells. 

Studies suggest that insulin resistance is a syndrome associated with metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and lipid abnormalities. These metabolic abnormalities are major risk factors for stroke occurrence and recurrence. 

Insulin resistance may lead to:

Impaired glucose metabolismElevated blood pressure (systolic and diastolic blood pressure)Abnormalities in vascular reactivityAltered plasma triglycerides and free fatty acidsAtherogenic dyslipidemiaEndothelial dysfunctionChronic inflammation

These factors are associated with the development of cardiovascular disorders.

Insulin resistance is widespread in individuals with metabolic disorders. It is associated with an increased risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease. The higher the insulin resistance, the higher the chances of stroke. High mortality risk after a stroke is possible in cases of increased insulin resistance. Impaired insulin sensitivity alters metabolic and cellular functioning, promoting atherosclerosis that leads to stroke. 

Relation Between Stroke and Hypertension

Hypertension refers to elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure, i.e., above 120/80 mmHg. The measure of blood pressure variability indicates the absence of cardiovascular homeostasis in individuals. Increased blood pressure can cause chronic damage to the blood vessel wall, leading to smooth muscle thickening, decreased elasticity, and narrowed lumen. As a result, it increases the susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke, and coronary heart disease.  

Studies show that high blood pressure is essential for detecting ischemic stroke and intracranial haemorrhage. Hypertension results from modifiable factors. Such as increased alcohol consumption, high salt intake, obesity, high cholesterol levels, and stress. 

Relation Between Stroke and Obesity

Obesity is the major risk factor for type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Studies show that diabetes, coronary artery disease, ischemic stroke, respiratory failure, and cancer are associated with obesity. In addition, there are pieces of evidence that show increased adiposity is related to an increased risk of stroke. BMI ranges from 25-50 kg/㎡ is associated with an increased risk of stroke mortality. The endothelial cells, fat cells, and immune cells cause insulin resistance resulting in excess plasma glucose levels. 

Relation Between Stroke and Blood Glucose Levels

Hyperglycemia negatively impacts blood vessels by causing oxidative stress. It leads to the stiffening of arterial vessel walls. Due to plaque formation, blood pressure increases which can damage the walls of blood vessels leading to rupture. In addition, a low blood supply to the brain and neck increases the risk of stroke. People with high blood glucose levels between 110-125 mg/dl have a 20% higher risk of stroke than people with normal blood glucose. 

A cohort study assessed the relationship between stroke risk and blood glucose levels. People with low blood glucose levels have a 22% higher risk of stroke than those with normal blood glucose levels. Unfortunately, people with diabetes, prediabetes and hyperglycemia have a 60% higher risk of developing stroke. Diabetes increases the risk of stroke in patients; 20% of death in people with diabetes are due to stroke. 

Preventive Measures

Primordial Prevention

It focuses on healthy living measures such as a nutritious diet, increased physical activity, weight management, and smoking cessation.

Primary Prevention

It aims to improve the risk factor profile of people without a stroke history. Also, it focuses on the prevention of future stroke and cerebrovascular incidences. It targets a person’s lifestyle to prevent the progression of risk factors. 

Secondary Prevention

It aims to improve the risk factor profile of individuals with a history of stroke. This prevention measure aims to prevent stroke recurrence by focusing on an individual’s lifestyle and medical stroke risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. 

An unhealthy metabolism can be prevented or reversed by healthy lifestyle habits that reduce cardiovascular disease risks such as: 

Physical Activity

People with a physically active lifestyle have a low risk of developing stroke and stroke mortality. Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure, reduces obesity, and diabetes hence lowering the risk of stroke. A consistent exercise routine that burns 2000-3000 kcal per week reduces the risk of stroke by 50%. Body weight and obesity are modifiable risk factors for stroke. Physical activity helps lower excess body weight and abdominal obesity (visceral adiposity). 

Diet

Several dietary factors influence the risk of stroke along with other metabolic abnormalities. For example, a high salt intake can increase the risk of hypertension and stroke. Conversely, high potassium intake can reduce the risk. 

High levels of homocysteine significantly increase the risk of stroke. Studies show that vitamin B therapy helps in blood vessel injuries in atrial fibrillation patients by reducing homocysteine levels. It plays an essential role in primary stroke prevention. It demonstrates a 7-11% reduction in stroke risk in high vascular risk patients. Diets such as the Mediterranean diet recommend a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, meat, and dairy products and a limited intake of sugar, saturated fats, trans-fat, and red meat helps prevent stroke. 

In a cohort study, the Mediterranean diet has reduced the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular disorders. A meta-analysis indicates that the DASH diet lowers the risk of stroke by 20%. Other diets like DASH, AHA, and USDA food patterns help improve cardiovascular health and come under primary stroke prevention measures. 

Substance Abuse, Smoking, and Alcohol Abuse

Light and moderate alcohol consumption show protective functioning against stroke as it enhances HDL levels and decreases platelet aggregation. However, heavy drinking can cause an increased risk of stroke. Heavy alcohol consumption is directly related to hypertension and hemorrhagic stroke. Substances such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and amphetamines increase the risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Restriction of substance abuse, heavy alcohol consumption, and smoking reduces the risk of stroke and increases life expectancy.

Summary

An optimal metabolic status ensures the efficiency of the body’s functioning. Also, unhealthy metabolism leads to metabolic abnormalities such as hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance, and impaired lipid profiles. These abnormalities lead to the development of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other metabolic disorders. 

A higher incidence of stroke is a result of ageing and impaired metabolism. The risk factors of stroke can be reversed and prevented by adding healthy lifestyle habits such as physical activity, dietary habits, and avoiding alcohol, smoking, and substance abuse. Leading a healthy lifestyle prevents the further development of metabolic abnormalities as they are considered risk factors for stroke.

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