When blood flow is cut off from a part of the brain, a stroke occurs. Strokes are either ischemic or hemorrhagic in nature and while family history of strokes as well as older age are factors, there are quite a few things that you can do to prevent them from occurring. Read more about them here.
- Lower blood pressure: The foremost reason of strokes is high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is above 130/80, you are suffering from hypertension. This increases your chance of having a stroke 6 fold. High blood pressure weakens arteries, making them prone to bursting, causing a hemorrhaging stroke. Consult your doctor for the right medication and also incorporate lifestyle changes like healthy eating and regular exercise.
- Quit smoking: The risk of a stroke is doubled when you are a regular smoker. The nicotine raises blood pressure and the CO present in smoke will lower oxygen levels in your blood. You need to have a frank conversation with your doctor about realistic ways to quit smoking with nicotine patches and counseling being viable options.
- Managing the heart: Atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat in layman’s language is the cause of strokes brought about by blood clots. If this clot travels to your brain, a stroke is likely. There are medical procedures, medication, as well as surgery that can help to get the normal rhythm back to your heart. If you experience breath shortness and heart flutters, consult your doctor immediately.
- Quit drinking: Excessive alcohol intake will increase your blood pressure and the triglyceride levels. If you are a man, do not have more than two drinks a day, and one drink for women. Drinking in excess will likely cause atrial fibrillation and binge drinking will also contribute to an irregular heartbeat.
- Diabetes control: If you have diabetes, you are 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke. Unmanaged diabetes will lead to clots and fatty deposits in the blood vessels. That has the effect of cutting off the brain’s blood supply. Check blood sugar levels regularly, medications should be regularly taken and do visit your doctor every month.
- Exercising: If you are a couch potato, you are going to be prone to diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure, all of which are a trigger for a stroke. Try to work out for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. However you have to have a talk with a doctor before you take to exercising as a way to prevent a stroke.
- Healthy eating: Eating healthy foods will lower the chances of a stroke, so go heavy on vegetables and fresh fruits, as well as high fiber and lean proteins. Do not consume saturated and trans fats, these have the tendency to clog your arteries. Also avoid foods that are processed and limit your salt intake.
- Take medicines regularly: If you have had a stroke before, do not ever forget to take the medicines that your doctor has prescribed. If you stop taking your meds, your chances of having a second stroke rise.
Follow these tips to have a healthy life without the risks of a debilitating or even fatal stroke.