Health issues such as cancer and heart disease get a lot of attention, particularly in the media, however, it may surprise you to learn that the risks of stroke are particularly high for men and women in the US. Approximately one in 20 deaths are caused by stroke, which kills about 140,000 Americans every year. It’s known to be a leading cause of disability and, if you’re aged over 65, your risk of decreased mobility as a result of a stroke is even greater.
To minimize the danger of stroke, there are some healthy habits you can practice and some things to avoid. Here is a guide on what to do to reduce your chance of having a stroke.
Eat as healthily as you can
A healthy diet will protect your body from all sorts of risks, so take the time to eat well, choosing natural ingredients rather than highly processed foods. Make sure you are eating fruit and vegetables as often as possible, and don’t skimp on oily fish, such as salmon. Drink lots of water throughout your day.
Choose versatile foods such as kale for your smoothies and make sure that tomatoes and eggs are included in your diet. If you favor a nutty taste now and then go for almonds, which are packed full of nutrients.
Ditch your bad habits
If you haven’t already quit smoking now is the time to do so, as it’s responsible for increasing many health risks, including your chances of having a stroke, as well as cancer or heart disease. There’s no way of overstating what a vital difference this makes, and it’s not an exaggeration to say it’s one of the most powerful lifestyle changes you can make.
Alcohol is yet another factor in your susceptibility to stroke. One alcoholic drink per day can be beneficial, especially if it’s red wine, however, if you go on drinking your risk level soon soars. So, enjoy an alcoholic drink if that’s your choice, but drink only in moderation.
Be good to your body
It’s easy to let exercise routines lapse, particularly if you’re busy all the time. Whether you have time pressures or not, as you age it becomes even more important that you give your body the workout it needs to stay healthy. Exercise is one of the primary things that will reduce both your risk of stroke and your blood pressure – both of which are connected.
If you don’t go to a gym and can’t find 30 minutes to exercise five days per week, break your routine up into shorter periods, such as 10 or 15 minutes per session. Walk briskly around the block after breakfast, for instance, or opt to use the stairs instead of the elevator when you can.
Check your lipid levels
If you have never had a test to check your lipid levels, it’s a good idea to consider the benefits of doing so. A simple blood test, known as a lipid panel test, provides an overview of your lipoproteins and analyzes your levels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides.
These are substances that govern your risk of having a stroke or a heart attack, as well as whether you are likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure or hypertension, or atherosclerosis. Medical practitioners also use the tests to evaluate the effectiveness of any treatments you are undergoing that are meant to help lower risk levels.
Lose weight if you need to
Obesity puts you in danger of a lot of serious illnesses and conditions, from stroke to diabetes and a whole heap more. Although a body mass index (BMI) of 24.9 or 25 is the ideal, that can be difficult to achieve for some people, so consult your healthcare practitioner and arrive at a target weight that’s achievable. Change your shopping habits and the way you eat as far as possible, introducing more fresh foods and taking time out to exercise more. Losing those excess pounds will make you feel wonderful and keep you healthier and less prone to serious diseases.
If you have never learned how to recognize when you or someone else is having a stroke remember this useful acronym – FAST. A stroke may affect your:
- Face – look for a droop on one side
- Arms – when you raise your arms one arm drifts downwards
- Speech – your speech becomes slurred
- Time to call the emergency services at once.
Remember the signs in case you or someone you’re with displays any of these symptoms, and if they occur take action immediately.