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90% of strokes are avoidable with a few lifestyle changes!

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Cleveland Clinic Expert Shares Six Simple Steps to Prevent Vast Majority of Strokes

 

 According to the World Stroke Organization (WSO), stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The WSO says one in four people will have a stroke in their lifetimes, and each year over 12 million people worldwide have strokes. However, it adds that 90% of strokes are preventable by addressing a small number of risk factors that are responsible for most strokes. In The Bahamas, on average 224 people (or 9.56%) die annually from strokes.

Here, Andrew Russman, DO, Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center and a vascular neurology specialist, offers advice on how to reduce stroke risk by better managing existing health conditions and also through implementing lifestyle changes. “These tips are interrelated as most of the lifestyle changes mentioned also play a role in improving management of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes, which all increase stroke risk,” Dr. Russman points out.

  1. Reduce hypertension

                        Uncontrolled hypertension – that is, blood pressure that is consistently above 130/80 – is the single most important modifiable risk factor in stroke worldwide, says Dr. Russman.

                        Aside from medication, an important step in reducing blood pressure is to reduce salt intake, which Dr. Russman says is good advice even if you don’t have high blood pressure. “We recommend consuming no more than 2g of salt per day.  I advise my patients to check food labels and nutritional websites for sodium levels as their intake is usually far higher than they realize,” he adds.

  1. Be wary of diabetes

                        It is important to be tested for diabetes, and if diagnosed, to manage the condition well, says Dr. Russman. He explains that diabetes causes narrowing of small, medium and large blood vessels in the body, including vessels of the eyes, kidney, heart and brain. Owing to this, diabetes can contribute to a variety of vascular, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems including stroke. In addition, for patients who have survived a stroke, the risk of having a second is three times higher in those patients whose diabetes is not controlled.

                        Dr. Russman says that as part of their treatment plan, people with diabetes should have their condition monitored through HbA1C tests, which provide a three-month snapshot of their blood sugar control. “We recommend that these individuals aim for an HbA1C result of 7.0 or less. Taking prescribed medication correctly, watching their diet, exercising regularly, and following their healthcare provider’s recommendations will help them achieve this.”

  1. Address atrial fibrillation

                        The WSO says atrial fibrillation is associated with one in four strokes, and Dr. Russman says these strokes tend to be more severe and disabling than strokes associated with other risk factors.

                        “Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm condition characterized by very rapid heartbeats that don’t allow the top left chamber of the heart – the left atrium – to contract normally. Instead, it fibrillates and flutters so blood is not ejected normally from the chamber,” he says.  “Anytime blood is stagnant for too long, it can form a blood clot that can travel elsewhere in the body. This clot could cause a stroke by blocking a blood vessel in the brain, depriving that part of the brain of the oxygen and nutrients it needs.”

                        Dr. Russman says atrial fibrillation is the most common acquired heart rhythm disorder in older adults, and its associated risk is strongly related to age. “The older you are, the more at risk you are of acquiring the condition, but also the higher the risk of stroke associated with the condition,” he says. “It is estimated that up to half of all patients with a heart rhythm condition are not aware of it. However, once diagnosed, atrial fibrillation can be treated with a blood-thinning medication. These do carry some risks, but the benefits far outweigh these in the vast majority of patients.”

  1. Manage cholesterol levels

                        In addition to reducing high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol                         through diet, for example, by avoiding saturated fat, individuals might be prescribed statin medications that reduce future risk of heart attacks and strokes.  Dr. Russman says these medications, particularly rosuvastatin and atorvastatin, may benefit patients beyond simply reducing cholesterol levels in that they also appear to reduce inflammation and stabilize plaque build-up in blood vessels.

  1. Stop smoking

                        “Any type of smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and is strongly associated with accelerated hardening of the arteries and narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, heart and elsewhere,” says Dr. Russman. “We therefore strongly recommend everyone completely stop any form of nicotine ingestion to significantly reduce their long-term risk for a multitude of diseases.”

  1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

                        Dr. Russman recommends following an eating plan that is low in saturated fats and sodium, and to avoid alcohol and excessive caffeine consumption. Regular physical activity is also important as it can reduce the risk of stroke directly, but also indirectly as it helps to lower high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Exercise can also help to reduce stress, as can other activities such as meditation or deep breathing, which is important as stress causes the body to release chemicals that can increase blood pressure, affect hormones and raise blood sugar levels, says Dr. Russman.

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South Caicos Development Plans shared with Washington-Misick led Administration

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On Monday, 12 February 2024, the Premier led a delegation to tour the island of South Caicos to view the ongoing public and private sector projects, involving the remodelling and rebranding of the airport terminals, historical districts, and the East Bay Hotel.

The tour of the various developments reinforced the Government’s commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to boost the island’s activity and economy.

Photos courtesy of the TCI Office of the Premier

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Ministry of Tourism continues to get rid of dilapidated structures

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By LINDSAY THOMPSON

Bahamas Information Services

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation is continuing to rid areas of derelict and dilapidated structures posing safety problems, and a threat to the overall tourism product.

In this vein the recent structure to be demolished was the Gaming Board building owned by the Hotel Corporation.  Located adjacent to Goodman’s Bay Beach on West Bay Street, it was formerly the Sir Harry Oakes property; the northern portion once housed Bahamas Information Services for several years.

 


On hand to witness the demolition were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper, and Senator Randy Rolle, Global Consultant, MOTIA.

The demolition started on Monday, February 5, 2024 by Virgo Construction headed by the contractor Terry Delancy.  

DPM Cooper explained that the government felt the Gaming Board building should no longer sit there in a derelict manner, and continue to be an eyesore and pose safety concerns.

“Goodman’s Bay will be enhanced as a result of getting rid of this building. It will be more aesthetically pleasing for residents who traverse this area. Women who walk in the mornings in particular through these areas will be pleased to see that this has become a green space, rather than a derelict structure,” he said.

DPM Cooper also noted that his ministry consulted broadly with the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC), and other historians before proceeding with demolition.

“We are sure not to take any actions as it relates to buildings, without consultation. So they were very comfortable with the process and we continue to work closely with them on all of the buildings that we have demolished in the downtown area,” he said.

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Ms. Camilla Lightbourne joins Experience Turks and Caicos team

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Experience Turks and Caicos is pleased to welcome Ms. Camilla Lightbourne to the post of Executive Assistant to the CEO effective February 06th, 2024.

Ms. Lightbourne is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree a DeVry University in Florida and previously worked as an Import Logistics Associate at Graceway Trading Ltd. and a Business Account Executive at Digicel.

In welcoming Ms. Lightbourne to the team, Ms. Racquel Brown, Change Manager and Interim CEO of Experience Turks and Caicos said Ms. Lightbourne’s appointment underscores the growth of the organisation.

“Experience Turks and Caicos is growing as we fill out key positions and responsibilities in the organization. As such, it has become necessary to bolster the CEO’s office by adding an Executive Assistant to work with the CEO on the effective administration of the day-to-day tasks. I look forward to working with Ms. Lightbourne in this regard,” she said.

Ms. Lightbourne said she is pleased to be part of the Experience Turks and Caicos team.

“I am elated to join such a dynamic organisation. I am looking forward to making my mark in the future development of our country’s tourism product,” she said.

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