Having a stroke can lead to severe medical complications, including paralysis of muscles or nerves, and can even lead to death. There are several ways that you can lower your risk of having a stroke, which can help you live a full and long life. Here are 10 ways that you can prevent or lower your risk of having a stroke, which can impact men and women alike.
One very obvious way you can lower your risk of a stroke is to stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk of a stroke, so it’s important that you either stop smoking all together or at least significantly cut down. You can ask your doctor about ways to quit, use online resources, or even find community-sponsored events at your local hospital to help you quit.
Manage Your Diabetes
Managing diabetes is a very easy way you can significantly lower your risk of a stroke, and it helps lower your risk of other medical issues as well. You should take all your medications as prescribed, but if you find a medication is not working well at controlling your blood sugar, ask your doctor to switch you to something else. You should check your blood sugar at least three times a day, get blood work done as needed, and try to live a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes has a lot of risks associated with it, so if you are managing your diabetes properly under the care of your doctor, you can lower your risk of so many complications.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Lowering your blood pressure is essential for preventing a stroke, because an increase in blood pressure leads to a whole host of medical issues involving the heart. Most of the time, high blood pressure will kill you before you even know there is an issue with your heart, because symptoms occur right as a stroke or heart attack happens. Essentially, the higher your blood pressure is, the more risk you have of having a stroke, and often times they will be fatal. Monitor your blood pressure daily, especially as you get older, and talk to your doctor about getting on blood pressure medications if you need to.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Your blood pressure rises as you drink alcohol, so you need to limit yourself to just two drinks a day, if not even less than that. A rise in blood pressure can increase your risk of a stroke, so make sure you drink responsibly, especially as you get older. Limiting alcohol consumption is just a good choice to make even if you are not concerned about having a stroke, since alcohol can ruin the liver, and lead to many other medical issues as well.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is probably one of the easiest ways you can lower your risk of a stroke. You should limit fat intake, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Lean meats are also a good start to a healthy diet, especially seafood since it contains a lot of Omega-3. Learn to curb your sweet tooth, which if you are like me, is easier said than done. You should also change your diet so that you are getting less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium each day, since sodium increases blood pressure. You might want to talk to a nutritionist or dietician if you aren’t sure which foods you should be eating, especially if you have diabetes or other medical conditions that are impacted by your diet.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise should be an important part of lowering your risk of a stroke, and it is just a good habit to get into. Exercise can help increase your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, which are all important components to lowering your risk of a stroke. Try to get at least 30 minutes a day at least five times a week of some form of physical activity, even just walking for 30 minutes can be beneficial. If you are not used to physical activity, you should consult your doctor to make sure that the exercise routine you want to try is appropriate for you.
Being obese increases your risk of having a stroke, and can also increase your risk of other medical conditions, so lose weight in order to prevent or reduce those risks. It is never a bad time to shed some extra weight, but if you are morbidly obese, you must act immediately because time is crucial. Your doctor can calculate your body mass index for you by using your weight and height, and this will let you know how much body fat you have. Start eating better, exercise, cut out junk food, and even opt for weight loss surgery if you have to.
Know Family History
If you know your family history, that can also reduce your risk of a stroke, because cardiovascular issues are often hereditary. If your mother or father had a stroke or other heart issue, then that will increase your risk of the same medical condition. You also need to know whether or not your grandparents had cardiovascular issues, and also get the information from other immediate family members as well. Simply knowing other people in your family have had a stroke or other heart issue is the first step to prevention, because then you can begin to change your lifestyle in ways that promote a healthy heart.
Stress is a trigger for various cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and stroke, and can impact you in so many ways. If you want to lower your risk of a stroke, you need to stay away from as much stress as possible, which might include limiting your involvement in family matters that leave you mentally exhausted. You might avoid activities that cause you stress, and avoid things that make you feel anxious or generally angry. Stress also impacts a variety of other areas of your life such as your important relationships and mental health, so avoiding it at all costs is crucial.
Ask Questions About Strokes
Asking questions about the risks and symptoms of a stroke can also prevent or lower your risk of having one. As you get older, you need to know what can cause a stroke, what to do if you notice symptoms, and what you should do following a likely stroke. Whether you ask your doctor, your caregiver, or just simply browse credible online resources, it all can make a difference between life and death. Asking questions and being informed can significantly decrease your risk of having a stroke, because knowledge is power. Do not be worried about sounding dumb, because you are just trying to get all the information you need to make informed decisions about your health.