Strokes usually occur when clots block the blood flow to the brain, or there is bleeding in an artery in your brain. You can’t always prevent them, but there are many things you can do to help reduce your risk of having one. Follow these top tips for preventing strokes and protect yourself against this devastating condition that affects over 700,000 people each year!
If you smoke, quitting is the most critical thing you can do to prevent a stroke. Smoking increases your risk of having a stroke by two to four times. Smoking speeds up the process of atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries. These deposits can cause a blockage that leads to a stroke. There are many ways to start quitting smoking, and you don’t have to do it alone. Ask your doctor for help, or call the National Cancer Institute’s Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Regular exercise is another important way to reduce your risk of stroke. Exercise helps keep your heart healthy and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and obesity that can lead to strokes. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week. You can break this up into shorter periods if that’s easier for you. There are many ways to make exercise fun, so find something you enjoy and stick with it. Try taking a brisk walk in the park, swimming laps, or riding your bike around town.
Eat A Healthy Diet
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is good for your heart and brain. Eating a diet that is low in sodium and rich in potassium, calcium, fiber, vitamin D, and omega-three fatty acids can help reduce your risk of stroke by promoting healthy blood pressure levels. This means limiting processed foods like chips and baked goods as well as foods high in saturated fats from meat products or coconut oil. You should also aim to eat fish at least twice weekly because they are high in omega-three fatty acids, which fight inflammation.
Lose Weight If You’re Overweight
Being overweight has been linked to poor health outcomes, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Losing just five percent of your body weight can greatly reduce the risk factors for these conditions – both directly through improved fitness and indirectly through lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Being overweight can also increase your risk of developing diabetes, which is another major risk factor for stroke. If you need help losing weight, ask your doctor or a nutritionist for advice.
Manage Stress Levels
Learning how to manage stress is an important part of preventing strokes because it’s something we all encounter every day. When you feel stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. This can increase blood pressure and raise your risk of having a stroke by causing fatty deposits in arteries to narrow and block vessels. Try exercise or meditation, talk with friends and loved ones about what stresses you out, and make sure that when things do get stressful at work or home, you find ways to take a break from it rather than letting stress build up inside.
Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
Keeping your blood pressure within normal limits will help promote healthy brain function and reduce your risk for heart disease, which could lead to other conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension is often due to a poor diet, lack of exercise, or obesity. The opposite is also true; maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can help reduce hypertension if you’re struggling with high blood pressure.
Take Medications As Prescribed
If you take medication for other medical conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, be sure to take it exactly how your doctor prescribes. Suppose you stop taking these medications without speaking to your doctor first. In that case, this could increase the risk of having a stroke because certain drugs used to prevent strokes should not be stopped abruptly but rather reduced over time under medical supervision. Talk with your healthcare provider about any concerns you have regarding stopping prescription medications so they can provide guidance on what’s best in each situation.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can have serious consequences for your heart and brain. In fact, excessive drinking has been linked to an increased risk of stroke in middle-aged men. Alcohol damages the cells lining your blood vessels, which reduces their ability to flex when blood pumps through them. High pressure within the arteries makes it easier for clots or bits of plaque to get stuck there, often causing a stroke. Aim to drink no more than one serving per day if you’re male and no more than half that if you’re female.
Know The Signs And Symptoms Of A Stroke
It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke so that you can get help as soon as possible if you think you might be having one. Some common symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg; trouble speaking or understanding speech; vision problems; severe headache; and dizziness. There are also other less common symptoms but still important to be aware of. If you experience any one of these, it’s time to call 911 immediately because every minute counts when it comes to preventing brain damage during a stroke.
If you’ve read this article and learned about ways to prevent a stroke, share it with your family and friends so they can learn how to protect themselves as well! If someone close to you has had a stroke or multiple strokes, talk with them about any lifestyle changes that could help reduce their risk of having another. In addition, make sure everyone in the home knows what steps to take if an emergency arises from a possible stroke. This way, your loved one will have every opportunity to live life on their own terms without worrying too much about potential risks for future health problems like strokes.