Zerodha co-founder recovering from stroke; lifestyle change for stroke survivors | Health - Hindustan Times
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Zerodha co-founder Nithin Kamath recovering from stroke; dietary and lifestyle changes for stroke survivors

By, New Delhi
Feb 28, 2024 05:15 PM IST

Zerodha co-founder Nithin Kamath revealed he suffered a ‘mild stroke’ 6 weeks back. Here are dietary and lifestyle changes stroke survivors must follow.

Zerodha co-founder Nithin Kamath took to social media on Monday to inform his followers that he's on road to recovery after a 'mild stroke' he suffered 6 weeks back. Kamath feels his dad passing away, poor sleep, exhaustion, dehydration, and overworking could be among the possible reasons and has been advised to 'shift the gears down a bit' by doctors. An ischemic stroke, a common type of stroke, occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or reduced. When the brain tissue doesn't get oxygen and nutrients, they begin to die in minutes. Stroke can cause permanent damage and disability depending on which area of brain and how much of it is affected. Early treatment plays a crucial role. Impaired speech, limited physical abilities, weakness/paralysis of limbs on one side of the body, difficulty holding things, and a slowed ability to communicate are among the common long term side effects of stroke. (Also read | Zerodha's Nithin Kamath suffers ‘mild stroke’: How to recognise early signs, urgent actions for brain's heart attack)

Zerodha CEO Nithin Kamath shared pictures of himself on a hospital bed and during his recovery on social media on Monday, along with a lengthy post.(X/@Nithin0dha)
Zerodha CEO Nithin Kamath shared pictures of himself on a hospital bed and during his recovery on social media on Monday, along with a lengthy post.(X/@Nithin0dha)

Stroke rehabilitation which includes dealing with the challenges and after-effects of stroke, is an important part of recovery from the event. It involves intensive therapy and exercises to help stroke survivors regain lost abilities, such as movement, speech, and cognition, aiming to maximise independence and quality of life through targeted interventions and support.

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"Rehabilitation is crucial for recovery as it helps in building strength, capability, and confidence. Adopting the latest technology-driven therapies that leverage robotics, virtual reality, AI, etc., can give a boost to recovery. Physical activity also promotes circulation, muscle strength, and mental well-being. However, it is important to work with a trained neurorehabilitation expert to accelerate progress in a safe environment. It is also important to celebrate small victories of the progress made on the journey to recovery," says Dr Gaurish Kenkre, Neuro Rehabilitation expert, General Manager and Center Head, Atharv Ability.

Also, certain lifestyle and dietary changes can play an important role in recovery process following a stroke.

"In the aftermath of a stroke, adopting appropriate dietary and lifestyle modifications can significantly impact the pace and quality of recovery. It's essential to prioritise a well-rounded approach that encompasses not only physical rehabilitation but also nutritional support and lifestyle adjustments. Optimal recovery necessitates a concerted effort to address various facets of one's health, fostering an environment conducive to neural repair and overall well-being," says Dr Rajat Chopra - Consultant - Neurology - Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.

Dietary changes

Post-stroke, it is important to introduce dietary changes to ensure speedy recovery. This typically involves reducing sodium intake to manage blood pressure, increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for improved heart health, and ensuring adequate hydration to support recovery and overall well-being.

"Dietary adjustments play a pivotal role in post-stroke recovery. Emphasising a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide essential nutrients vital for neuronal repair and maintenance. Additionally, incorporating foods known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, such as berries, nuts, and oily fish, may help mitigate secondary damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain," adds Dr Chopra.

Dr Kenkre shares dietary suggestions for stroke survivors.

• Prioritize a colourful array of fruits and vegetables: These nutrient-packed foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Opt for whole grains like brown rice, oats, quinoa, and barley as these complex carbohydrates offer sustained energy and promote heart health. Beans, peas, and lentils are excellent sources of plant-based protein and fibre and they contribute to overall well-being and help regulate blood sugar levels. Choose lean proteins such as chicken or tofu as these provide essential amino acids without excessive saturated fat. Incorporate oily fish like salmon, sardines, or herring because the omega-3 fatty acids support brain health and reduce inflammation. Use of unsaturated fats like olive oil or avocado oil promote cardiovascular health. Opting for low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt or skim milk will provide calcium without the saturated fat content.

•Reduce intake of processed foods: Cut back on white bread, cakes, and pastries or any other highly processed baked goods. Reduce consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy as they are high in Saturated Fats. Be mindful of sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and other added sugars. Minimise foods high in added salt.

•Soft, bite-sized foods: Many stroke survivors experience swallowing difficulties (Dysphagia) so it is essential to adapt meals based on food consistency. These patients can opt for pureed foods as these require no chewing and are suitable for those with severe swallowing difficulties. Along the patient’s recovery journey, minced and moist foods can be introduced as the soft textures don’t require biting and are ideal for easy swallowing. With further improvements, patients can transition to soft, bite-sized foods before moving to regular foods.

Making lifestyle changes

Studies suggest that the risk of future stroke after the first stroke is significantly elevated. Apart from a carefully crafted diet, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, quitting smoking and managing stress through relaxation techniques or mindfulness practices to support overall well-being are important in order to prevent future strokes.

"Attention to lifestyle factors is paramount. Regular physical activity tailored to individual capabilities not only aids in improving cardiovascular health but also promotes neuroplasticity, facilitating neural rewiring and functional recovery. Moreover, maintaining a healthy weight, managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and abstaining from smoking are crucial lifestyle modifications that can mitigate recurrent stroke risk and support long-term recovery. Yoga and meditation also benefits," feels Dr Chopra.

Stress management

"Stress management contributes to overall well-being. Reducing stress levels is essential, making it important to engage in relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and hobbies that bring joy. Similarly, losing excess weight reduces strain on the cardiovascular system and also lowers stroke risk, and hence, in some cases, patients need to make constructive efforts to manage their weight. Regularly monitoring cholesterol levels and blood pressure is important as high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for stroke. Follow recommendations offered by healthcare providers and adhere to prescribed medications and dosages as advised. It is important to quit smoking and limit alcohol intake as both vices increase the risk of stroke. Patients should seek support to achieve this goal if necessary," says Dr Kenkre.

Get support

"Beyond dietary and lifestyle adjustments, fostering a supportive environment is integral to the rehabilitation journey. This involves enlisting the support of healthcare professionals, including neurologists, physiotherapists, dietitians, and mental health specialists, to tailor a comprehensive care plan tailored to individual needs. Additionally, engaging in social activities, cognitive stimulation, and emotional support networks can contribute to overall well-being and expedite the recovery process," concludes the expert.

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