"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

7 Things You Can Do to Avoid a Stroke

Stroke prevention can start today. Protect yourself and avoid stroke, no matter your age or family history.

What are you able to do to forestall stroke? Age makes us more liable to stroke, as does a mother, father, or other close relative who has had a stroke.

You can't change the years or change your loved ones history, but there are a lot of other stroke risk aspects you possibly can control—provided you're aware of them. Knowledge is power. If you recognize that a specific risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a better risk of stroke, you possibly can take steps to scale back the impact of that risk.

How to forestall stroke

Here are seven ways to start out controlling your risks today to forestall a stroke, before a stroke has a probability.

1. Low blood pressure

High blood pressure is a large factor, doubling or quadrupling your risk of stroke if left unchecked. High blood pressure is a significant contributor to stroke risk in each men and girls. Blood pressure monitoring and, if it's high, treating it, might be the most important difference people could make to their vascular health.

Your goal: An ideal goal is to take care of blood pressure below 120/80. But there could also be good the reason why you and your doctor may not want your readings to be so low. For some, a less aggressive goal (corresponding to no higher than 140/90) could also be more appropriate.

How to get it:

  • Reduce salt in your weight loss plan to not more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about half a teaspoon).
  • Avoid high cholesterol foods corresponding to burgers, cheese and ice cream.
  • Eat 4 to five cups of vegatables and fruits every day, one serving of fish two to thrice per week, and several other each day servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy.
  • Get more exercise – a minimum of half-hour of activity a day, and more if possible.
  • Quit smoking, should you smoke.

Take blood pressure medication if needed.

2. Lose weight

Obesity, in addition to the complications related to it (including hypertension and diabetes), increase your probabilities of having a stroke. If you're chubby, losing as little as 10 kilos could make an actual difference to your stroke risk.

Your goal: Although a really perfect body mass index (BMI) is 25 or less, this will likely not be realistic for you. Work along with your doctor to develop a personalised weight reduction strategy.

How to get it:

  • Try to eat not more than 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day (depending in your activity level and your current BMI).
  • Increase the quantity of exercise you get with activities like walking, golfing, or playing tennis and make the activity a part of each day.

3. Exercise more.

Exercise plays a crucial role in weight reduction and lowering blood pressure, but it surely also stands as an independent stroke reducer by itself.

Your goal: Exercise at a moderate intensity a minimum of five days per week.

How to get it:

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood every morning after breakfast.
  • Start a fitness club with friends.
  • When you exercise, reach a level where you might be respiration hard, but you possibly can still talk.
  • Take the steps as an alternative of the elevator each time possible.
  • If you don't have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up into 10- to 15-minute sessions just a few times a day.

4. If you drink, achieve this moderately.

A small amount of alcohol, corresponding to one a day on average, is high-quality. Once you begin drinking greater than two drinks per day, your risk increases exponentially.

Your goal: Do not drink alcohol or do it moderately.

How to get it:

  • Do not drink a couple of glass of alcohol a day.
  • Consider red wine as your first alternative, which some studies suggest may help prevent heart disease and stroke.
  • Watch your portion sizes. A typical-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce glass of beer, or a 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.

5. Treat atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat that causes clots in the center. The clots can then travel to the brain, causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation carries a virtually fivefold risk of stroke, and ought to be taken seriously.

Your goal: Get treatment if you might have atrial fibrillation.

How to get it:

  • Check along with your doctor if you might have symptoms corresponding to heart palpitations or shortness of breath.
  • You may have to take an anticoagulant medicine (blood thinner), corresponding to certainly one of the direct-acting anticoagulant medicines, to scale back your risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation. Your doctor can guide you thru this treatment.

6. Treat diabetes.

High blood sugar damages blood vessels over time, making them more prone to clot.

Your goal: Keep your blood sugar under control.

How to get it:

  • Monitor your blood sugar as directed by your doctor.
  • Use weight loss plan, exercise, and drugs to maintain your blood sugar throughout the really helpful range.

7. Quit smoking.

Smoking accelerates clot formation in a wide range of ways. It thickens your blood, and it increases the quantity of plaque buildup within the arteries. Along with a healthy weight loss plan and regular exercise, quitting smoking is probably the most powerful lifestyle changes that can provide help to significantly reduce your risk of stroke.

Your goal: Quit smoking.

How to get it:

  • Ask your doctor for advice on essentially the most appropriate method to quit.
  • Use a quit smoking aid, corresponding to nicotine tablets or patches, counseling, or medication.
  • Don't surrender. Most smokers need several attempts to quit. See each attempt as bringing you one step closer to successfully beating the habit.

Identify stroke quickly.

Many people ignore stroke symptoms because they query whether their symptoms are real or not. If you might have any unusual symptoms, don't wait. Listen to your body and trust your instincts. If something is off, get skilled help instantly.

The National Stroke Association has created a handy acronym to provide help to remember and act on stroke symptoms. Cut out this image and post it in your refrigerator for simple reference.

FAST - Identify the rapid stroke chart.

Source: National Stroke Association

Symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Facial numbness
  • Unusual and severe headaches
  • Loss of vision
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Unsteady walking.

Photo: marina-ua/Getty Images