During a stroke, blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, potentially causing significant and irreparable damage to the brain. Your chances of having a stroke depend on a number of factors, including your family history and your health. And as you grow older, the risk of developing a stroke increases. In fact, according to the American Stroke Association, the likelihood that you will experience a stroke nearly doubles every 10 years after you turn 55. Thus, learning how to prevent a stroke is an integral part of healthy aging.
How to Prevent a Stroke
By improving your health through a variety of methods, you can reduce your chances of having a stroke. Even adopting a few small changes can have a significant impact on your overall health. If you’re wondering how to prevent a stroke in your future, use the following tips for help.
Cut Back on Unhealthy Habits
Smoking and excessive drinking can increase your chances of having a stroke. Smoking causes your blood to thicken, putting you at a higher risk of developing a clot that can cause a stroke. If you find it difficult to quit smoking completely, work on reducing your habit to start. It may take multiple attempts to quit before you can fully kick the habit. In addition, having more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day can also increase your risk of a stroke (source). Reduce your daily intake, and stick to red wine when you do drink.
If you’re overweight, your chances of having a stroke will be higher, especially if you are obese. Losing weight through healthy eating and regular exercise can help you shed a few pounds. Begin with simple changes, such as choosing a salad instead of fries at your favorite fast food restaurant. Reducing the number of meals you eat out can significantly lessen the calories you eat as well. Finally, exercise is a great way to lose weight and improve your overall health. If you’re unsure about how to start an exercise program, keep it simple; even regularly walking to a nearby park can improve your heart health. In addition, remember that losing just 5 to 10 pounds can significantly reduce your risk of a stroke (source).
Add More Healthy Foods to Your Diet
Adding more healthy foods to your diet, starting with vegetables and fruits, can help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and lower your blood pressure. If you find it difficult to incorporate fresh produce into your daily meals, try to use vegetables and fruits in place of other foods. For example, instead of having regular pasta, you can make your own using a zucchini. And instead of adding more fruit to your smoothie, throw in some spinach (you won’t even taste it!).
Lower Your Blood Pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, your arteries are enduring constant and excessive pressure, making you susceptible to a stroke. Lowering your blood pressure starts with talking to your doctor about your options. Lifestyle changes, including losing weight and consuming less salt, can help, but you may also need to take a daily medication to manage your blood pressure.
Learn How to Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress can manifest itself in the human body in a number of ways, including raising your blood pressure. If you don’t have healthy ways to cope with stress, you may fall into patterns that are harmful to your body, such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol. You can adopt any number of tricks to help you manage your stress, including exercising more, talking to a friend, or keeping a stress journal. In addition, consulting with a mental health professional can help you learn new ways of managing your stress.
Aging takes a toll on the human body in many ways, and unfortunately it does increase your chances of having a stroke. Learning how to prevent a stroke may seem intimidating, but it all comes back to living a healthy life overall. Incorporating easy lifestyle changes, including eating better and losing weight, can lower your risk of having a stroke and give a boost to your overall health.
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