Almost everyone knows someone who has had a stroke. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the most common cause of adult disability. Each year, 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke, and stroke-related causes lead to over 160,000 deaths in our country annually.
Fortunately, there are things that we can do to reduce the chance of a stroke. Stroke prevention is an ongoing process. To avoid suffering a stroke, lifestyle changes are necessary. Most of these changes are simple, but ongoing consistency is needed for the best results.
If you are interested in learning ways to reduce the chance of stroke for yourself or a loved one, read on. As with any struggle you may face in life, being armed with the proper information and knowledge is truly half the battle.
What Is a Stroke?
Most people know a bit about what it means to have a stroke, but many don’t know much about them. In short, a stroke occurs when blood circulation to the brain is hindered.
There are two types or direct causes of stroke. The first is the result of a blockage of blood flow to the brain; the other is caused by bleeding within the brain.
The majority of strokes – around 80% – are caused by a blocked blood vessel in the brain or neck. This can be the result of several different issues: a clot in the blood vessel, a clot moving from another part of the body into that blood vessel, or the severe narrowing of ateries.
To some, it may seem that these causes of stroke are out of an individual’s control, but that’s not always the case. There are numerous steps you can take towards stroke prevention now and onward into the future.
Stroke Prevention Tips for All Ages
Although the vast majority of people who suffer from a stroke are older adults, you can begin to apply stroke prevention tips at any age. There is no need to wait until your later years to begin to work against the possibility of stroke. In fact, the following tips will not only help you to avoid suffering a stroke, but most will also help to improve your overall health throughout your life, no matter what your age right now.
1. Weight Loss
If you are overweight, working to shed those extra pounds can help you to avoid a stroke later on in life. Even if you are currently at a healthy weight, maintaining that weight is crucial to your health now and in the future.
Obesity raises your odds of having a stroke. The complications that come with obesity such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and others, can raise your chances of blood clot obstructions that can lead to stroke.
Even losing as little as ten pounds can make a big difference when it comes to stroke prevention. Eat healthy and exercise daily and you will already be well on your way to preventing a stroke and other health issues caused by obesity.
2. Lower Your Blood Pressure
As mentioned above, one major cause of stroke is the thinning of the blood vessels that lead to the brain. High blood pressure is a significant cause of stroke and it can double or even tripe your chances of suffering a stroke. Optimal blood pressure is 120/80, so you want to achieve a blood pressure reading on a daily basis that is as close to those numbers as possible.
There are many different ways to lower blood pressure, and when you apply them all together you will be amazed at the results you experience. If you eat less salt, exercise more, add healthy fats to your diet, and quit smoking, and you will see a large change in your blood pressure in a relatively short time.
3. Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking will lower your blood pressure, but that’s not the only reason to do it. You probably already know that smoking can cause cancer as well as a vast number of other health problems, including stroke. Smoking can cause a stroke because it increases the formation of clots in your blood and it also increases the build up of plaque in your ateries. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to reduce your chance of experiencing a stroke.
4. Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol is also bad for your health for many reasons, but one of them is the increased risk of stroke. A little alcohol each day can actually be beneficial to your health, but you should not have more than one or two drinks daily. Cutting back on your alcohol consumption can be effective in stroke prevention over the long term.
5. Lower Your “Bad” Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that our bodies need to function properly, but high LDL cholesterol levels can result in fat building ip on the walls of your arteries. As you know, constricted blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure and clotting that can lead to stroke.
Many people are able to lower their cholesterol levels by making dietary changes, but others may need prescription medication to help. Drugs like Zocor can help lower cholesterol to a healthy level for those who need aid in meeting their goals.
According to the CDC and other experts in the field, adult Americans should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or seventy-five minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week for optimum health. Regular exercise will help you to lose weight and will also help you to lower your blood pressure, both of which will help you to avoid having a stroke in the future.
Furthermore, exercise will help you improve your health in countless other ways; with all the medical knowledge available to us today, there is simply no excuse for not getting the proper amount of exercise each week if you wish to live a long and healthy life.
You Can Prevent Stroke
No matter what your age now, you can begin to work on stroke prevention right away so you will be less likely to suffer from a stroke later on.
These lifestyle changes may be challenging at first. However, they will absolutely be worth your time and effort further on down the road. Good luck and here’s to a healthy future!
If you think you may need medication assistance to help you make the changes needed to prevent a stroke in the future, consult with your doctor for more information. When it comes time to order your medications, please contact us at Maple Leaf Meds. We can’t wait to hear from you and to help you on your quest for greater health.