Every four minutes, someone dies from a stroke. And while that statistic is startling, there is some good news regarding strokes. Strokes are largely preventable since 88% of stroke risk is caused by modifiable risk factors.
In essence, you can reduce your risk of stroke significantly just by modifying your lifestyle and making a few changes.
What changes you ask? Read more to discover four of the most important ways to prevent a stroke.
1. Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke, accounting for over 50% of all strokes. Monitor your blood pressure closely making sure it is less than 120/80. You may have high blood pressure if your reading is consistently over 130/80.
Manage your blood pressure by limiting salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day or less. Exercise regularly and don’t eat high-cholesterol foods like fried foods, fast food, and ice cream. Instead, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Many people aren’t sure if they are having a stroke. Check out this post to learn the warning signs of a stroke.
2. Drink in Moderation
We know alcohol is bad for your health but many people aren’t aware that heavy drinking increases your risk of stroke. Don’t drink more than one drink a day.
When you do drink, reach for red wine first. That’s because red wine contains resveratrol, which many experts believe to protect your heart.
As with food, watch your portions. A standard drink of hard alcohol is 1.5 ounces while a glass of wine is 5 ounces and beer is 12-ounces.
3. Manage Your Weight
There are a thousand reasons to lose extra weight. Here’s one of them: Your odds of suffering a stroke increase dramatically if you are obese. Not to mention, complications from extra weight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, also contribute to a higher risk of stroke.
The good news is you can lower your stroke risk even by losing as few as 10 pounds. Incorporate small weight loss habits into your lifestyle and you will begin to drop weight.
Park at the back of the parking lot. Avoid the elevator in favor of taking the stairs. Take the dog for an evening walk. And, of course, watch your food portions and avoid junk food.
4. Quit Smoking
When it comes to avoiding a stroke, quitting smoking is a no brainer. Smoking thickens your blood, leading to clot formation and plaque buildup in your arteries.
Doctors advise their patients to change their lifestyle and cease smoking to significantly reduce stroke risk. Ask your doctor for advice on the best approach for you to quit smoking.
Many people find success with nicotine pills or patches. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an appropriate medication. We also suggest seeking counseling to help you identify triggers and develop a coping mechanism to make quitting easier.
Final Thoughts on How to Prevent a Stroke
These tips can help you prevent a stroke. You can also lower your stroke risk and improve your health by exercising more, treating diabetes, managing heart disease and eating more good cholesterol.
The National Stroke Association has created the acronym “FAST” to help you identify if you are having a stroke.
- F – Face: Does your face droop on one side when you smile?
- A – Arms: When you raise your arms, does one or both of your arms start to fall down?
- S – Speech: Are you slurring your words?
- T – Time: If you have any of these systems, call 911 immediately.
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