What you Need to Know About Stroke and Stroke Prevention

Over 800,000 strokes occur globally each year. Sadly, 80% of all strokes could have been prevented.

Strokes are a result of blood flow being cut off from the brain. When blood flow is restricted to the brain, brain cells begin to die to due to a lack of oxygen causing impairment of the affected region of the brain. 

Strokes can devastate a family. They can also reduce the quality of life of the person who experiences a stroke leaving them with reduced memory and muscle function. In some cases, they may even need to hire a homecare company to help them meet their everyday needs.  

Life-threatening medical conditions such as a stroke are terrifying occurrences which require immediate medical attention. When symptoms are identified promptly, the damage can be greatly reduced.

However, the best way to reduce the damage of strokes is to practice prevention prior to even having a stroke. 

So, what are the best ways to prevent stroke?

Read on to learn how to prevent strokes so that you can live a healthier, more care-free life. 

Ways to Prevent Stroke with Lifestyle Changes

Our genes may make us more susceptible to strokes, but they don’t guarantee a stroke will occur. Lifestyle changes and prevention can also deter these genes from becoming relevant in our lives in the first place. Explore the following stroke prevention tips to take charge of your health today. 

1. Quit Smoking 

Smoking raises your blood pressure, promotes plaque buildup, and thickens blood which promotes clotting.

To reduce your risk of experiencing a stroke, you’ll need to remove smoking cigarettes and tobacco from your daily habits. Quitting smoking, of course, isn’t an easy task, but it can be accomplished with the appropriate resources, support, and personal determination. 

First, speak with your doctor to see what they would recommend for smoking cessation. Some doctors will prescribe medication while others may suggest smoking cessation aids such as lozenges, nicotine patches, or nicotine gum. Your doctor might also refer you to a smoking cessation program or a counselor to provide you with further support and coping skills to reduce your stress during and after smoking cessation. 

To successfully quit smoking, you will need to a develop a persistent attitude as well as learning new lifestyle habit such as relaxation techniques to eliminate smoking from your daily routine. 

2. Lower Blood Pressure

Ideal blood pressure is between 90/60 and 120/80. However, if you struggle with high blood pressure your doctor may create a more reasonable goal to reach such as 140/90. 

Lowering your blood pressure can be accomplished in a number of ways. Besides medication, which your doctor may or may not prescribe, blood pressure can be lowered through diet, exercise, and stress reduction. 

To lower your blood pressure through nutrition, you’ll need to learn how to reduce your salt intake. Strive to eat less than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. To do this, avoid processed foods, canned and boxed foods, and fast food. 

Instead, focus on eating fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins. Aim to exercise for 150 minutes each week.

3. Reduce Weight

Obesity and being overweight are both associated with high blood pressure and other medical conditions such as diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes both raise your risk of experiencing a stroke.

To reduce your weight, start by focusing on eating a healthy diet. While there are many fad diets available, the best diets focus on eating fresh, whole foods with high nutritional value and lower caloric intake. Your doctor can also guide you towards the best diet plan for you based on your medical history and current medical conditions. 

To lose weight also engage in regular physical activity, preferably activity you enjoy! Consider joining a gym, an exercise class, or asking a friend to go walking with you. Start where you’re at and make sure to have your doctor assess your current exercise limitations if any exist. 

4. Treat Other Medical Conditions

Treating diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation reduce the risk of stroke. 

Each of these conditions can cause complications which can lead to a stoke. To treat these conditions, your doctor may prescribe medications, diet plans, and exercise programs. 

When treating these conditions, it’s important to be under the care of a physician in order to monitor progress, medication dosage, and symptoms. 

Keep your health at the top of your priority list by also strengthening your immune system through cold and flu prevention

5. Drink in Moderation

If you are drinking more than one alcoholic beverage per day, then you’ll want to consider reducing alcohol in your daily diet. Reducing your alcohol intake will lower your risk for experiencing a stroke. 

6. Reduce Stress

Chronic stress, Type A personalities and experiencing a life-altering event all raise your risk for stroke. While we can’t always control what happens in our lives, we can control and choose how we react to these events. However, it does take time and practice to learn how to become more relaxed and cope with stress. 

Try reducing stress through meditation, positive affirmations, and relaxation techniques. Commit to not “sweating the small stuff.” Finding a spiritual practice can also help to reduce your stress and cope better with life’s daily stressors. 

7. Get Support

Making changes in your life is a difficult process. When we try to change habits such as smoking or eating healthier, it’s normal for resistance to appear. 

To counteract the effects of resistance such as not following your diet plan or choosing not to workout, gain support. Your support team can consist of your doctor, healthcare team, counselor, family, and friends. It could also consist of new people you meet with similar goals by joining a fitness class or cooking class. 

Having a support team you can lean on will help you to feel like you’re not alone and that change is possible. A support team can also help you to get through the rough days when stress and lack of confidence overwhelm you.

Ready to Try These Ways to Prevent Stroke?

When making lifestyle changes, such as these ways to prevent stroke, always make sure to consult your doctor first. Especially, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. 

Remember, there are some risk factors that are within your control and some that aren’t. Focus on what you can control such as losing weight instead of worrying about factors you can’t control such as your age or family history. 

If you or a loved recently had a stroke and needs home care, please contact us today. We provide quality home care to people living in Montgomery County and the Washington D.C. area.