Strokes are one of the leading causes of mortality in Canada. It is estimated that every seven minutes a Canadian dies of heart disease or stroke, accounting for 7% of all deaths.
An ischemic stroke occurs when clots form in blood vessels and travel to the brain, blocking blood flow to the neuronal tissue. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood vessels break, and blood seeps into the brain tissue.
Up to 50% of these episodes can be prevented and many of the risks factors can be effectively managed.
Magnesium for stroke prevention
Magnesium supports the whole cardiovascular system in a number of ways. High intake of magnesium and other minerals can reduce risks of cardiovascular disease (1). Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure and prevents the buildup of cholesterol and calcium on the wall of the artery, which otherwise may lead to blockages or thrombosis (blood clots).
Magnesium also acts as a healthy, natural blood thinner that helps keep the blood flowing smoothly.
Generations ago, doctors prescribed magnesium chloride or magnesium sulphate intravenously when heart attack or stroke patients arrived at emergency rooms. When magnesium was given within 3 hours of the onset of stroke or heart attack, magnesium reduced the incidence of death by 50% (2). Other studies indicate that in addition to guarding against stroke, magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar, and is linked with lower levels of inflammation, a risk factor for
Other studies indicate that in addition to guarding against stroke, magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar, and is linked with lower levels of inflammation, a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease (3).
Other Important Preventative Measures
It’s also critical to control cholesterol, unhealthy levels of which can accumulate on vessels and reduce blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain.
1. Prospective Study of Calcium, Potassium, and Magnesium Intake and Risk of Stroke in Women. Hiroyasu Iso, Meir J. Stampfer, JoAnn E. Manson, Kathryn Rexrode, Charles H. Hennekens, Graham A. Colditz, Frank E. Speizer and Walter C. Willett. 1999, Stroke, Vol. 30, págs. 1772-1779.
2. Associations of dietary magnesium intake with mortality from cardiovascular disease: The JACC study. Wen Zhange, Hiroyasu Iso, Tetsuya Ohira, Chigusa Date, Akiko Tamakoshi, JACC Study Group. 2, Atherosclerosis , Vol. 221, pp. 587-595.
3. To lower your stroke risk, pay attention to this mineral. BECK, LESLIE. January 17, 2012.