Does Fish Oil Promote Stroke Prevention?

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Strokes remain the third leading cause of death in adults living in the United States. They are also the main reason older adults become disabled. According to research performed at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, including fish oil in the diet on a regular basis may decrease the risk of strokes by almost half. 

Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids interfere with platelet activity. Thus, they interfere with the clotting process. Blood clots in the brain’s fragile vessels cause blockages, and vascular pressure increases until the vessels rupture. However, when people consume enough fatty fish, omega-3 fatty acids congregate in blood vessels and other cells. The vasculature becomes more flexible and blood flows more freely.

If seniors consume too much margarine, vegetable oil, or saturated fats, their bodies accumulate omega-6 fatty acids, which trigger prostaglandin production and chemical messengers called leukotrienes. These hormones are also linked with clot formation, inflammation, and blood vessel constriction, all of which raise the risk of stroke. However, when fatty fish are included in the diet on a regular basis, omega-3 fatty acids protect the blood vessels and block the prostaglandin receptor sites. The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish also reduce inflammation. 

Following a stroke, seniors often need help with activities of daily living. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional home care service. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Scientific Evidence

Research teams from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health followed more than 43,000 men over the course of 12 years. They found that the individuals who ate fish at least once each month reduced their risk of having ischemic strokes by 44 percent. In addition, eating fatty fish two to three times each week reduced the risk of heart attacks by 45 percent. Thus, omega-3 fatty acids offer twice the protective value compared to taking aspirin daily. Aspirin also increases the risk of gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, which leads to more than 100,000 emergency hospital visits annually.

Some seniors may be reluctant to eat fish on a regular basis due to the fear of consuming mercury or other toxins. The Harvard scientists report that seniors should avoid king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish. However, they also explained that the benefits of eating fatty fish far outweigh the risk of mercury toxicity by 300 to 500 percent. 

British Study

A group of scientists from Great Britain published the results of a study in the British Medical Journal. The researchers carefully assessed the results of 38 prior omega-3 fatty acid studies. The reports included documentation of approximately 800,000 people from 15 different countries, finding similar stroke-reduction results. Some people believe taking oral omega-3 fish oil supplements offers the same benefit. However, research has yet to prove this is the case.

Following a healthy lifestyle in the golden years can be challenging. Green Valley senior home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Best Omega-3 Resources

Seniors can easily find oily fish to add to their diets, including anchovies, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna. However, scientists advise that the fish should be baked, grilled, or steamed instead of buttered or fried. 

Stroke prevention can be challenging for some family caregivers to manage. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Green Valley, AZ, Embrace In-Home Care can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Call us at (520) 625-2050 to create a customized in-home care plan.


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