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Health Education Articles

Stroke Prevention from Chinese Medical Perspective

By Kimberly Guorong Du

Stroke is among the leading causes of neurological disability and death in the world. It is an emergency case manifested by falling down with loss of consciousness, hemiplegia, slurred speech and deviated mouth. Because it is characterized by abrupt onset with pathological changes varying quickly like the wind, it has also been termed "wind stroke".

A stroke occurs when hemorrhage, thrombosis or embolism damage in part of the brain causes interruption to its blood supply or leakage of blood outside of vessel walls. The two most important risk factors are hypertension (high blood pressure), which weakens the walls of arteries, and atherosclerosis (thickening of the lining of arterial walls), which narrows arteries. Others are atrial fibrillation, damaged heart valve, and recent heart attack, which can cause blood clots that break off and migrate to the brain. Polycythemia (a raised level of red cells in the blood), hyperlipidemia (a high level of fatty substances in the blood), diabetes mellitus, and smoking all increase the risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis. The above modern medical knowledge is widely accepted.

Chinese medicine approaches the "cause of the stroke" with a special perspective:

  • Strain, stress, anger, exasperation, anxiety, sorrow, fear and joy are an individual's normal mental and emotional response to the environment. When excessively intense or persistent, the effects may disturb the yin-yang and chi-blood balance and give rise to organ dysfunction.

  • Excessively cold or unclean foods, voracious eating, overindulgence in fatty and sweet foods, alcohol over indulgence, and overly hot or spicy foods may not only affect the spleen and the stomach, causing digestive disturbances, food accumulation, stomach pain, diarrhea, etc.; it may create heat, phlegm (visible or invisible) and dampness, thus causing blood stagnancy and blocking the channel.

  • Overindulgence in sex and giving birth to too many children, including abortion or miscarriage; may wear kidney essence, causing deficiency of the kidney yin and thereby weakening the health and increasing vulnerability.

  • Overexertion or insufficient exercise may cause debilitation of original chi. Blood needs the chi to move it around the body.

All of the above reasons or anything against nature would impair the smooth flow of blood and cause imbalance of yin and yang. It may lead to upsurge of liver yang and heart fire, which makes chi and blood go upward together with turbid invisible phlegm and cause narrowing of blood vessels. This endogenous pathogen disturbs the mind and results in this serious illness.

In summary, maintain a healthy life style, exercise regularly, choose a low fat high fiber diet, stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Controlling mood and increasing forbearance should help as well.

If you suffer a stroke, seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. For any post-stroke patient or person at high risk of stroke, you should be aware that there is always an alternative if your conventional treatment is not going well. Chinese medicine can help. Treating post-stroke patients with acupuncture and Chinese herb medicine has been practiced with a long successful history. Come to explore acupuncture and herbal medicine's power. After a few treatments you will notice the difference.


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