Beware of Cerebral Infarction in the Summer

Illustration of a brain having a stroke.

Also called an ischemic stroke, a cerebral infarction occurs due to disrupted blood flow to the brain due to restricted flow in the blood vessels. (Image: Katerynakon via Dreamstime)

Cerebral infarction refers to the necrosis of a particular tissue area in the brain. Also called an ischemic stroke, this occurs due to disrupted blood flow to the brain due to restricted flow in the blood vessels. A lack of adequate blood supply to brain cells deprives them of oxygen and vital nutrients, which can cause parts of the brain to die.

The hot summer has high incidences of cerebral infarction. The heat can be unbearable and heavy, making it very easy to induce cerebral infarction. Older adults, or people with high blood pressure and who are obese, are especially at high-risk and need special attention.

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F.A.S.T. warning signs

Use the letters in F.A.S.T to spot a cerebral infarction in a person:

F = face drooping

Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

A = arm weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = speech difficulty

Is speech slurred?

T = Time to call 911

Call for medical help immediately.

High-risk behavior that can lead to cerebral infarction

High-risk behavior and habits that increase one’s chances of a cerebral infraction include:


Long-term heavy smoking will accelerate the occurrence of cerebral infarction. It is 2.5 times higher than that of non-smoking patients. The harmful substances from burning cigarettes will expedite the process of atherosclerosis and increase the heartbeat, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and the risk of cerebral infarction.


Long-term drinking can also increase the risk of cerebral infarction. Alcohol can directly stimulate blood vessel walls, make blood vessels lose elasticity, accelerate arteriosclerosis, and increase the risk of cerebral infarction. Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause sympathetic nerve excitation and increase blood pressure.

Staying up late

Long-term late nights and lack of sleep can also increase the risk of cerebral infarction. Staying up late will lead to the secretion of many hormones in the body. The hormones will cause vasoconstriction, which will hinder blood flow, increase blood viscosity, cause blood vessel blockage, and cause cerebral infarction.

Long-term late nights and lack of sleep can also increase the risk of cerebral infarction.
Long-term late nights and lack of sleep can also increase the risk of cerebral infarction. (Image: Narith Thongphasuk via Dreamstime)

What can we do to help prevent cerebral infarction?

Drink green tea

Green tea can replenish water, dilute the blood, reduce blood clots, and prevent the occurrence of cerebral infarction.

Eat more vegetables and fruit

Vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients and fiber. Vegetable fiber is beneficial in reducing blood vessel blockage. Eating more fruits and vegetables can also strengthen blood vessels, maintain blood vessel elasticity, and help blood lipid health. Tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, and other brightly colored vegetables have a good effect on regulating blood lipids.

Check your blood pressure regularly

Hypertensive patients should monitor their blood pressure frequently. If abnormal blood pressure occurs, people should seek medical attention immediately. Also, stopping blood pressure medicine without authorization is not advisable to avoid inducing severe complications.

Exercise more

A regular exercise routine such as a brisk walk can help promote blood circulation, increase the elasticity of blood vessels, and help to prevent cerebral infarction.

Orange, red, and yellow peppers along with some ripe roma tomatoes in a metal collander.
Vegetable fiber is beneficial in reducing blood vessel blockage. (Image: Didgeman via Pixabay)

Be less agitated

Excessive emotional ups and downs, great joy and sorrow, and being easily agitated will heighten the occurrence of cerebral infarction. Therefore, controlling emotions and maintaining a peaceful and stable mind are essential.

Eat less saturated fat foods

Foods with high amounts of saturated fats should be avoided. These substances quickly accumulate on the blood vessel wall and form stable “plaque,” which narrows blood vessels and blocks blood flow. Blocked vessels are the major contributing factor to cardiovascular disease and tighten the risk of cerebral infarction.

Use air conditioning less

In the summer, if you rely too much on air conditioning, the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors will be dramatic. According to a Yale School of Public Health study, the daily temperature variations and higher humidity were associated with higher stroke hospitalization rates. Therefore, we must not rely too much on air conditioning in the summer to avoid excessive temperature differences.

Translated by Patty Zhang

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