Posts Tagged - ‘stroke’

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Less Salt = Medical Health Insurance Savings?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

A recent study by the Institutes of Medicine has found that cutting the average American’s salt intake by just 10% could save up to $32 billion in the cost of medical health insurance.

Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. $14 billion of the projected savings would come from fewer hospitalizations of people with those conditions. High blood pressure-related diseases cost U.S. health insurance plans over $70 billion annually.

Salt is in many processed foods where you wouldn’t expect or even taste it, such as ketchup. The study’s authors suggest that the food industry take voluntary action. Failing that, they would suggest a government tax on overly salty products–a method that was successful in cutting sodium intake in Great Britain.

(Image: TooFarNorth under CC 3.0)

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Wii Games Helping Stroke Survivors

Friday, February 26th, 2010


Those popular Wii games are offering a new benefit this time to stroke survivors. Patients who play active Wii video games are having fun and also regaining lost strength and motor skills in the process.

In a first-of-its-kind study, 11 stroke victims with weakness in their arms could reach out and grab objects more easily and more quickly after two weeks of playing the active video games. Other stroke survivors who engaged in card and block games showed no change in arm strength.

Virtual gaming is probably effective because patients are engaged and having fun for hours and at the same time improving their strength.

Until the video games prove safe in larger numbers of stroke survivors — shoulder pain being the main concern — it’s too soon to recommend people start playing Wii games after stroke, researchers say.

This is a significant finding because thousands of Americans are affected by strokes every year. A Stroke can cause death or significant disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional problems. Those with health insurance are at a lower risk for strokes. Also, those who engage in healthy eating and exercise decrease their chances of stroke.

Here are a few ways to help prevent stroke:

  • Avoid fatty foods. Follow a healthy, low-fat diet.
  • Do not drink more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Exercise regularly: 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight; 60 – 90 minutes a day if you are overweight.
  • Get medical insurance and have your blood pressure checked every 1 – 2 years, especially if high blood pressure runs in your family.
  • Have your cholesterol checked. If you are at high risk for stroke, your LDL “bad” cholesterol should be lower
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