Stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or reduced. It can cause long-term disability, cognitive impairment, and even death. However, many strokes can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices and managing medical conditions which raise your risk of stroke.
Recommendations in order to reduce the risk of stroke include:
- Manage high blood pressure: High blood pressure is the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. Monitoring and controlling your blood pressure through regular doctor visits, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help to prevent stroke.
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, which are all important risk factors for stroke. A diet that is high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help to prevent stroke.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help to reduce your risk of stroke by improving blood flow, strengthening the heart, and controlling weight and blood pressure. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Children and teens should get one hour of physical activity every day.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for stroke. If you smoke, quitting can greatly reduce your risk of stroke and other health problems.
- Manage diabetes: Diabetes can increase the risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels and increasing the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol. Managing diabetes through regular doctor visits, medication, and a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of stroke.
- Control cholesterol: High cholesterol levels can lead to plaque build-up within the arteries, which can increase the risk of stroke. Managing cholesterol through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication, if necessary, can help to prevent stroke.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and contribute to other health problems that increase the risk of stroke. If you drink, limit your alcohol intake to one standard drink per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men.
By following these steps, you can help to reduce your risk of stroke and improve your overall health and well-being. If you have any concerns about your stroke risk or are unsure how you can be more physically active, book a time to see one of our physiotherapists today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, October 10). Preventing Stroke: What You Can Do
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, October 2). WISEWOMAN Overview.
- Million Hearts. (2020, July 13). ABCS of Heart Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.