How to Prevent a Stroke ?
Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke. As your parents, or grand parents grow older knowing the symptoms of stroke and how to prevent a stroke can be life saving at times.
What is a stroke?
When the blood flow gets cut off to part of the brain strokes happen. Most strokes are caused by a clot or a foreign particle that blocks the blood flow. These are called ischemic strokes. However, bleeding in the brain can also cause strokes. These are hemorrhagic strokes.
How to prevent stroke ?
1. Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure doubles the risk of stroke. According to statistics, uncontrolled high blood pressure contributes to the highest number of strokes in both genders. The blood pressure target is less than 135/85.
How to prevent stroke by lowering blood pressure
- Limit table salt in your diet to about half a teaspoon. i.e 1500 milligrams per day.
- Avoid high-cholesterol foods like deep fried food, burgers and cheese.
- Eat at least one fruit and two cups of vegetables per day.
- Consume several daily servings of whole grains, 30 grams of fiber and low-fat dairy.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
2. Lose weight
Obesity and complications like diabetes increases the odds of having stroke. The idea body mass index or BMI is 25. If this does not sound realistic work with your doctor and dietitian to create a personal weight loss strategy.
3. Exercise more
Exercise contributes to losing weight and lowering blood pressure. Moreover, exercise releases certain chemicals in the body like Adrenalin and increases blood flow.
How to prevent stroke by Exercising more
- Take a walk around your neighborhood every morning after you wake up.
- Join a gym or fitness club.
- When you exercise, reach the level at which you’re breathing hard, but you can still talk.
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator when you can.
- If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up into 10- to 15-minute sessions few times a day.
disclaimer – if you have a heart disease or other chronic illness consult your doctor before an exercise routine.
4. Avoid Alcohol or drink moderately
Studies show drinking a little alcohol may decrease your risk of stroke. Studies show that if you limit to having one drink per day your risk may lower. However, Once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up sharply.
How to prevent stroke by avoiding alcohol
- Have no more than one glass of alcohol a day.
- Make red wine first choice. Red wine contains Resveratrol, a chemical which is thought to protect the heart and brain.
- Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking accelerates clot formation by thickening your blood. Furthermore, it increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries.
How to prevent stroke by quitting smoking
- Use quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine pills or patches, counseling, or medicine.
6. Treat diabetes
Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels over time, making clots more likely to form inside them.
How to prevent stroke by treating diabetes
- Monitor your blood sugar as directed by your doctor.
- Use diet, exercise, and medicines to keep your blood sugar within the recommended range.
- Avoid processed foods, cola and sugar confectioneries
- Reduce sugar intake via coffee or tea
- Consume high fiber content food and foods that are rich in protein
7. Treat atrial fibrillation
A form of irregular heartbeat, Atrial fibrillation quadruples the risk of stroke, since irregular heartbeat causes clots to form in the heart. Those clots can then travel to the brain.
How to prevent stroke by treating atrial fibrillation
- If you have symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath, contact your doctor for an exam.
- You may need to take an anticoagulant drug (blood thinner) such as warfarin (Coumadin) (or)
- One of the newer direct-acting anticoagulant drugs to reduce your stroke risk from atrial fibrillation.
Signs of a stroke include:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Numbness of the face
- Severe headache
- Vision loss
- Numbness and tingling