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Things to Remember While Preventing Stroke

Written byNikhil Ambatkar

Last updated on : 23 Apr, 2024

Read time : 10 min

When an area of the brain experiences an interruption in its blood supply, the result is a stroke. Typically, this is caused by an obstruction of the arteries, such as a clot, that prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain cells. These are referred to as ischemic strokes.

As you age and possess a family history of strokes, your risk of experiencing a stroke increases. Though you may not be able to alter your relative’s past or reverse time, there is some hope.

If you know that a specific factor is jeopardising your health and increasing your chances of suffering a stroke, you should take action to counter its harmful effects. According to experts, up to 80% of strokes can be prevented.

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Stroke

If you want to reduce your stroke risk, here are some steps you can take immediately. Start protecting your health by implementing these strategies today.

1) Reduce hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is the primary source of strokes, responsible for over half of them. Ideal blood pressure is below 120/80, so if your readings are consistently over 130/80, you might suffer from high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can drastically increase the odds of stroke if not adequately monitored. It is because it can cause the artery walls to thicken and make cholesterol and other fatty substances accumulate and form plaques. If one of these plaques dislodges, it can completely cut off the blood flow to the brain.

Excessive blood pressure can lead to the deterioration of arteries and an increased risk of rupture, potentially resulting in a hemorrhagic stroke.

2) Manage Weight

Being overweight or obese can put you at a higher risk of stroke. Medical professionals usually calculate the body mass index (BMI) to determine if your weight is in the healthy range. Knowing your height and weight, you can use the Centre for Disease Control CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website to get your BMI. Doctors can also use waist and hip measurements to measure extra body fat.

Coming up with a plan to shed extra pounds with your physician is the best way to reach a healthy BMI. Although a BMI of 25 is ideal, it may not be feasible. Your doctor should be able to provide a tailored weight loss program that works for you.

It’s essential to stay within your recommended daily calorie intake, ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 calories, depending on your activity level and current BMI. Get active with activities like walking, golfing, and playing tennis, and try to move a part of your everyday routine.

Read more: Does Weight Loss Supplements Really Work?

3) Care for Your Cardiovascular Health

Atrial fibrillation, commonly referred to as AFib, is a condition that can cause strokes due to blood clots. This condition is characterised by an irregular heartbeat, which can cause blood to collect and clot in the heart. If a clot is carried to the brain, it can lead to a stroke. High blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and other factors can contribute to the onset of AFib.

If you experience palpitations or breathlessness and are unsure if it is Atrial Fibrillation, it is best to get a checkup from your doctor. Various medications, medical procedures and even surgery can help restore your heart rate to normal.

Read more: Signs and symptoms of an unhealthy heart

4) Limit Alcohol

It’s essential to be mindful of your alcohol consumption – drinking more than two drinks a day if you’re a man and one if you’re a woman can increase both blood pressure and fat. Furthermore, binge drinking (consuming 4-5 drinks within two hours) can lead to atrial fibrillation (AFib) – an irregular heartbeat. So, stay safe and keep an eye on your alcohol intake!

5) Avoid Smoking 

Using tobacco can drastically increase your chances of having a stroke. Cigarette nicotine increases blood pressure, while carbon monoxide in smoke reduces the oxygen circulating in your blood. Furthermore, even secondhand smoke exposure can increase your stroke risk.

Tobacco use has a lot of negative impacts on your health, and one of the ways it affects you is by altering your body’s cholesterol levels. Tobacco can raise your blood fat levels, called triglycerides while lowering your levels of the “good” high-density lipids (HDL) cholesterol levels necessary for cardiovascular health. 

It can also make your blood sticky and more likely to clot, increasing the stroke risk. The sticky plaque buildup in your arteries is also more likely if you smoke. This buildup can thicken and narrow your blood vessels, leading to damage in the linings of your vessels. 

All these health risks from tobacco use can be avoided by quitting smoking or avoiding tobacco altogether.

Stroke Prevention Exercises

Take control of your health, and get in those regular workouts! From hypertension to diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and stress, exercise can help reduce several factors that increase your chances of stroke. Physical activity is a great way to lower your risk of stroke – just 30 minutes five times a week can reduce it by 25%. 

Be sure to get moving in your day-to-day life! Incorporating small activities like walking instead of driving, stair climbing instead of using the elevator, gardening, and doing chores around the house can help you stay fit and lower your chances of stroke.

Staying active is vital, so we must work towards getting at least 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise every week. You can break this down however you prefer, but a great way to reach this goal is to be active for thirty minutes daily, five days a week.

It’s understandable if scheduling thirty minutes of physical activity daily seems unmanageable or thirty minutes is too much. Instead, you can start with even ten minutes of exercise and gradually increase the duration as you get more comfortable and build up your strength. Above mentioned exercises for preventing stroke are lifesavers as they also keep other conditions at bay.

Stroke Prevention Foods

If you don’t watch what you eat, you increase your odds of having a stroke due to the boost in your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. To minimise these risks, it’s essential to eat a balanced diet, low in fat and high in fibre, such as plenty of fresh produce, veggies and whole grains. These foods minimise the risk of preventing stroke.

It’s essential to make sure your diet is balanced. Avoid having too much food, particularly with salt and processed food. Keep your daily salt consumption to no more than 6g (0.2oz), as too much will raise your blood pressure: that’s about a teaspoonful of salt.

Precautions for Preventing Stroke While Sleeping

Excessive and persistent snoring could indicate a medical condition known as sleep apnea, which involves interrupted breathing patterns throughout the night. This ailment can significantly increase your risk of stroke by reducing your oxygen intake and elevating your blood pressure. Taking care of snoring may prevent stroke while sleeping. Talk to your healthcare professional about your snoring problem.

Preventing Stroke F-A-S-T

Many individuals tend to dismiss the warnings of a stroke due to doubts surrounding their symptoms. But you mustn’t delay seeking medical attention if experiencing any unusual indications. Pay attention to your body and have faith in your intuition. If something seems amiss, don’t hesitate to obtain professional assistance immediately.

The National Stroke Association has developed a user-friendly acronym (F-A-S-T) to assist individuals in recalling and promptly addressing the indications of a stroke. Print and paste the below image on your refrigerator to have it readily available.

stroke symptoms

Takeaway Message

Stroke is a severe medical condition that affects a significant part of the population worldwide. Studies have mentioned that one out of every four individuals aged 25 and above will experience this health issue at some point. While it may not be possible to prevent all types of strokes, it’s still possible to reduce the risk of experiencing one by taking specific measures such as lifestyle changes and medication.

Now is an excellent time to examine your health status and take proactive steps to avoid potential stroke-related problems. Being aware of medical conditions that increase the chances of having a stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, is essential. 

Focusing on daily commitments like being physically active, following a healthy diet, and controlling weight is essential to prevent stroke. These steps can significantly decrease your chances of experiencing this medical condition and lead a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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Frequently asked questions

Does high cholesterol cause a stroke?

Individuals with elevated cholesterol levels in their bloodstream are at risk of developing fatty buildup in the walls of their arteries. As time goes by, these deposits can accumulate and narrow the arteries, restricting blood flow. In some cases, the fat deposits may rupture suddenly, causing a blood clot that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

What are the risk factors of stroke?

Some of the critical factors that can increase your risk of experiencing a stroke are as follows: hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream, as well as a smoking habit. It’s essential to keep these risk factors in mind to help you take action to reduce your likelihood of experiencing a stroke.

Who is at risk for stroke?

People 55 years or older, of African-American descent, male gender, or with a family history of strokes or heart attacks are at a greater risk of experiencing a stroke. Additionally, engaging in unhealthy habits such as being overweight, lacking physical activity, heavy alcohol consumption, and recreational drug use also increase the likelihood of stroke. It is crucial to be aware of these risk factors and take steps towards leading a healthy lifestyle to reduce the possibility of experiencing a stroke.

Can stress cause a stroke?

The adverse effects of stress on the body are far-reaching and can lead to serious health issues. The heart is one of the organs most affected by stress, as it is forced to work harder, increasing blood pressure. High levels of sugar and fat in the blood can also result from stress, raising the risk of blood clots forming and potentially causing a heart attack or stroke if left unchecked. It is crucial to be conscious of stress’s effects and take steps to manage it to prevent serious health problems.

Can stroke be cured?

The recovery duration following a stroke varies from individual to individual, spanning weeks, months, or even years. While some can complete restoration, others may need to endure lifelong or long-term impairments.

Disclaimer 

The content provided within this article has been thoroughly verified for accuracy. However, we advise consulting a healthcare professional before utilising any medication or dietary supplements mentioned herein.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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