For over 25 years we’ve helped patients live a better life by helping improve their heart and vascular health. One aspect of that is to help prevent patients from having strokes and to help patients who have had a stroke to avoid subsequent strokes.
Many of the tips used to prevent strokes are great guidelines for overall health. Use these tips to adopt healthy lifestyle choices and they may just save your life.
10 stroke prevention tips:
Control high blood pressure (hypertension) – This is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce your risk of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure can also reduce your risk of having a subsequent stroke.
There are several ways to manage your blood pressure including exercise, managing your stress, reducing your intake of sodium and alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight helps contribute to other stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Control diabetes – You can control your diabetes with diet, exercise, and also medication.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – A diet with five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day can help reduce your risk of stroke.
Lower the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet – Reducing the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats may reduce plaque buildup in your arteries. If you have difficulty lowering your cholesterol through diet alone, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication.
Regular exercise – Exercise can help lower your blood pressure, increase your HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), and improve your heart health. The result of regular exercise is often weight loss, a reduction in stress, and more manageable diabetes.
A good goal is to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. To make it easier to find time to exercise, try breaking up the 30 minutes. A 10 or 15 minute walk on your breaks or lunch can help make it easier to reach 30 minutes. You’ll notice benefits if you consistently and regularly exercise.
Quit tobacco usage – Smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk for stroke than are nonsmokers. If you find it difficult to quit on your own, consult your doctor. They can talk to you about your treatment options.
Limit alcohol usage – Heavy consumption of alcohol increases your risk of stroke and may interact with medications you may be taking.
Treat obstructive sleep apnea – Men with obstructive sleep apnea may have an increased likelihood of ischemic stroke by almost three times of those without obstructive sleep apnea.
Avoid illicit drugs – Drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines have been known risk factors for stroke. Cocaine reduces blood flow and can cause the arteries to narrow.