The risk for stroke increases dramatically as someone ages, and strokes can lead to problems with mobility, memory, and even simple tasks like eating or drinking. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce the chances of having a stroke. Eight of the most important ways are discussed below.
A healthy diet is one of the best means of stroke prevention. To reduce stroke risk, eat 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, eat healthy snacks like nuts or dried fruit, reduce salt intake and choose poultry or fish over beef or pork when eating meat. These changes will all go a long way to supporting overall health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
One of the problems with being overweight is that the body will sometimes turn excess fat and cholesterol in plaque. The plaque over time will build up in the arteries and can eventually occlude (block) them and trigger a stroke by reducing blood flow to the brain. Extra weight can also cause high blood pressure, another risk factor for strokes.
Get a Move On!
Regular physical exercise can help prevent strokes for a number of reasons: it can reduce body weight, lower the blood pressure and help regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels, all of which will also reduce stroke risk. If possible, aim to exercise around 30 minutes a day.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Moderate consumption of alcohol is considered to be one drink a day for a women or two drinks daily for a man. Consumption in excess of this, especially over the long term, can increase blood pressure and cholesterol and also pack on the pounds, all of which will mean a greater chance of having a stroke.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the top risk factor for strokes. Follow recommended lifestyles changes like weight loss, regular exercise and limiting sodium in the diet to help reduce this. If lifestyle changes are not enough, consider either natural herbal supplements or prescription medications to help keep the blood pressure at a normal level.
Smoking is another major risk factor for a stroke. Carbon monoxide and nicotine enter the body through the cigarette smoke and this chemicals damage the cardiovascular system by harming and narrowing the blood vessel. Smoking also causes blood to clot: if a clot becomes lodged in one of the vessels in the brain and occludes it, a stroke can be triggered.
For people at high risk for strokes, aspirin and other blood thinners can greatly reduce an attack. Aspirin interferes with the blood’s ability to form clots, and preventing clot formation is, in turn, key to preventing a stroke. It can also help prevent a second stroke once a first one has already occurred.
Multiple studies have found a link between drinking at least 6 glasses of water daily and a reduced stroke risk. This is likely because good hydration promotes better blood circulation while dehydration can cause the flow to become sluggish and increase the chances of clot formation.
None of these suggestions are complicated or expensive to implement. However, they can all go a long way to reducing someone’s risk of a life-altering stroke and in the process improve the overall health.
More From Mayimina