There are elements of stroke we can control and others we don’t. Those factors that we can control have to do with our lifestyle and certain medical conditions that are preventable and treatable.
Diet, exercise, and consumption of tobacco and alcohol, are all factors we can control to lower the risk for stroke.
- Diet: high cholesterol is a major risk for stroke, so be sure to eat a balanced diet low in saturated fats and high in fiber. If you are at higher risk for high cholesterol, speak to your doctor or nutritionist about what foods you should be including in your diet.
- Exercise: 30 minutes of exercise (walking counts!) can be very beneficial to long-term health. Regular physical activity will help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels, give your heart necessary exercise to stay strong, and can be very beneficial for mental wellbeing.
- Alcohol: drinking in excess of the healthy limits for men and women can lead to higher blood pressure.
- Tobacco: smokers can have almost twice the risk for stroke than nonsmokers. If you are a smoker, speak to your doctor about what you can do to reduce and eventually quit smoking.
Certain health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease are significant risk factors for stroke. Keeping those under control with the guidance of your medical team will lower your risk for stroke.
- High blood pressure: blood pressure is usually silent, doesn’t show symptoms, which is why it’s important to have it checked regularly. There are medications your doctor can prescribe and certain lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure.
- High cholesterol: excessive levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to blockages in your arteries, so be sure to check your cholesterol every few years. If you currently have high levels of cholesterol, changes in diet and medicine can help you lower your cholesterol.
- Diabetes: keeping your levels of sugar in blood under control are very important for stroke prevention. Speak to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes, and treatment options available to you if you do have diabetes.
- Heart diseases: certain heart diseases can have serious implications for stroke, as they sometimes can lead to blood clots forming. Visit a cardiologist and speak to them about treatment options.
As always, we highly recommend you speak to your primary care physician about any and all health concerns you may have.