Prevent a Stroke
How can I prevent a stroke?
Most strokes can be prevented by keeping medical conditions under control and making positive lifestyle changes. Once these factors have been identified, it is best to work with your health care provider to establish how you can reduce your risk. A good place to start is to know your ABCS of heart health:
Aspirin: Aspirin may help lower your risk for stroke.
Blood Pressure: Control your blood pressure.
Cholesterol: Control your cholesterol.
Smoking: Quit smoking or don’t start.
Anyone can have a stroke, at any age, at any time. However, there are certain things that can increase your chances of having a stroke. The best way to protect yourself or a loved one from a stroke is to understand the risks.
Medical Risk Factors:
- High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. It occurs when the pressure of the blood in your arteries and other blood vessels is too high. There are often no symptoms of high blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked often, and if you have high blood pressure, lowering your blood pressure through lifestyle changes or medicine can lower your risk for stroke.
- High Cholesterol: If we take in more cholesterol than our bodies can use, extra cholesterol can build up in the arteries, including those in the brain. This can lead to narrowing of the arteries, causing a stroke or other problems. A blood test can tell your doctor if you have high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (a related kind of fat) in your blood.
- Heart Disease: Coronary artery disease can increases your risk for stroke. This is a result of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can block the flow of oxygen to the brain. Other heart conditions, such as heart valve defects, and enlarged heart chambers, can cause blood clots that may break loose and cause a stroke.
Life Style Risk Factors:
- Tobacco Use: Smoking, along with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes, tops the list as a primary risk factor for heart disease. In fact, smoking is the single most preventable stroke risk.
-Physical Activity: Not getting up and moving can increase your risk of becoming overweight, developing high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Going on a brisk walk, taking the stairs and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can decrease your riskfor cardiovascular disease or stroke.
- Diet:A heart-healthy diet can reduce your chance of stroke.A heart-healthy and well-balanced diet includes eating more servings of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and lean meats; while eating less servings of processed foods including fried foods, lunch meats, chips and cookies.
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