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How a Vegan or Vegetarian Diets May Stop Heart Disease but Increase Stroke Risk

different vegetables

Diets that require a person to avoid either meat or all animal products get a lot of attention for being healthy and for contributing to weight loss. However, there may be a catch to these diets: a higher risk for a certain type of stroke.

According to a study published in the BMJ in September 2019, researchers observed that people who did not consume meat had a 22% lower risk of coronary artery disease but concurrently had a 20% increased risk of experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke. In addition to that, pescatarians, those who eat fish but not other red meats, showed the same risks of stroke but a 13% lower risk for heart disease compared to meat-eaters.

To achieve these results, the researchers followed 48,000 people in Great Britain for nearly 18 years.

Lead researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in England reports that their findings “indicate that the vegetarians had higher stroke risk than meat-eaters, mostly due to a subtype of stroke called hemorrhagic stroke that is related to bleeding in the brain.”

The study didn’t, however, determine why it was such, but past research offers a clue: Nutrient deficiencies common among non-meat-eaters may be connected to a higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke.

“A low cholesterol level is known to be protective against heart disease and ischemic stroke,” Dr. Tong added, “but some recent evidence suggests that low cholesterol may be linked to a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, the subtype of stroke found to be higher in the vegetarians.”

Make Daily Activities Easier for Your Joints

group of senior smiling

Having arthritis and other conditions can make tasks like getting out of bed or standing up from a chair difficult to do. Monica Bozeman McClain, OTR, an occupational therapist at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Texas suggests that older adults focus on two things: 1.) energy conservation and 2.) joint protection.

With these two in mind, McClain suggests that seniors experiencing arthritis do the following things, to help ease joint tension:

  1. Consider getting out of bed slowly. Nice and easy helps you work out the cricks you get from sleeping and makes it less painful for you to get up.
  2. Get a toothbrush with a fatter handle. Since arthritis often manifests in the hands, it can be a pain for seniors to try and clutch normal-sized toothbrush handles. A looser grip will feel less uncomfortable.
  3. Switch to using adaptive devices in your house and in your car. There are tons of adaptive devices on the market nowadays that can help seniors with everyday things, from sitting, standing and other things that they may find difficult to do without assistance.
  4. Finally, keep the items that you often use nearby. If you see that it is something you need daily, make sure that it’s not too far away. This lessens your need to get up and put more pressure on your bones.

It’s essential that you take care of your joints when you have arthritis. Although, if the pain is unbearable or worsens, you may want to consult your healthcare team about what you can do to better manage it.