중앙데일리

Be wary of the wind that hits the center

Feb 03,2007
Strokes can occur for one of two major reasons. In a condition called ischemia, which accounts for 80 percent of strokes, the blood supply to parts of the brain is suddenly interrupted and can ultimately lead to the death of cells in the affected regions. The remaining 20 percent are caused when a blood vessel bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. This situation is called cerebral hemorrhage. Brain cells die from oxygen starvation or through damage caused by sudden bleeding into or around the brain.
Stroke symptoms come on suddenly, and are easy to spot. They include numbness, weakness or paralysis, especially on one side of the body; confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination; and severe headaches with no known cause. Patients who experience the sudden onset of any of these symptoms should be brought directly to a well-equipped hospital. Immediate intervention can make a huge difference to the treatment of this disease.
From an Oriental medicine perspective, strokes are related to the liver, spleen and kidneys. The predisposing factors for stroke may take years to develop and are often the result of emotional or physical strain, overwork, poor diet and lack of relaxation.
These lifestyle habits deplete the body’s vitality, which often leads to an accumulation of phlegm and/or wind. Over time, accumulated of phlegm and wind can culminate in a stroke. This process is reflected by the Chinese character for stroke, “chung-pung” or “wind hits the center.”
Phlegm results when the spleen is weakened by poor diet or physical and mental strain. An accumulation of phlegm disrupts the smooth flow of Qi within the body. Over time, phlegm stagnates and transforms into phlegm-heat, which may rise to the head and cause a stroke.
Wind is often the result of strain coupled with poor diet. Too much stress can deplete liver and kidney Yin, resulting in conditions that vary from high blood pressure, headaches and strokes.
Oriental medicine plays a preventative and a rehabilitative role. In the latter, Oriental medicine is used to treat the effects of stroke as well as any underlying factors such as hypertension, wind or obstructed Qi. Acupuncture is performed to regulate the flow of Qi in the meridians, and herbs are used to harmonize organic irregularities.
In its prevention role, Oriental medicine is used to treat many of the common risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension and diabetes. A quite effective pill made of herbs, called U-hwang-chong-shim-hwan, is routinely given to at-risk patients to clear up their phlegm-heat and lower blood pressure.
Proper dietary choices are also important. In particular, omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, tuna or trout oils can inhibit blood clots, and they have a hypotensive effect; garlic prevents blood clots and can lower blood pressure; green tea extract lowers LDL cholesterol levels; while ginkgo bilboa improves circulation and memory and prevents blood clots.
A healthy lifestyle is the best prevention. If you feel you are at risk for stroke, visit an Oriental medical clinic for an assessment.
www.jaseng.net

Raimund Royer is Medical Director of the International Clinic at the Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine.


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