Most people eat from a somewhat restricted dietary selection. They eat a traditional, customary, or habitual diet. In the United States, this customary fare has long included large amounts of animal fat in such foods as eggs, milk, butter, pork, and beef. Most people tolerate this diet extremely well. Nonetheless, large numbers of people face the problem of elevated levels of blood cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol levels may cause premature development of hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis, and the associated problems of heart attack and stroke.
TIAs are small, reversible strokes. When blood flow is temporarily insufficient for part of the brain, the brain tissue will not function properly. The changes that the patient experiences are real but reversible. The affected part of the brain loses function while the blood flow is insufficient, but it does not die, which would cause permanent loss of function. The variety of symptoms produced by TIAs is large and may involve sensory or motor functions, or both. Occasionally the symptoms may be so mild and transient that they are ignored by the patient and family alike.
Strokes occur when there is an interruption of blood flow to part of the brain. The most common cause of the interruption of blood flow is the plugging of an artery inside or leading to the brain. The plug is most often a blood clot or an embolus. An embolus is a piece of clot or other material broken off from somewhere else in the circulatory system. This kind of stroke, caused by interruption of blood flow, is an ischemic stroke and is the major cause of stroke in elderly patients. TIAs are small, reversible strokes.
Smoking cessation is good preventive health care. It is particularly important for patients suffering from a select list of health problems. This list includes angina pectoris (heart pain), heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis), stroke, dyspepsia, and osteoporosis. You are never too old to gain a benefit from stopping smoking.