Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke occurs when there is something wrong with the blood flow to the brain. This is often caused by a narrowing of blood vessels. Older people and those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes have a greater risk of stroke.
While certain risk factors can not be changed such as hereditary factors. But simply change on your lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk of getting stroke. Here are 7 ways that can help you to reduce the risk of developing stroke:
- Control high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. No matter how well you feel, you should find out whether you suffer from this dangerous condition.
If you do not visit doctors regularly, go to the nearest pharmacy and have them check your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is above 140/90, then you are in high blood pressure, it is necessary to control your high blood pressure immediately. Changes in lifestyle and possibly medication may bring your blood pressure back to normal range.
- Control of blood sugar or diabetes
Like high blood pressure, diabetes also increases your risk of stroke, and people with diabetes often have high cholesterol and being overweight, two risk factors for stroke.
If you have diabetes, you should see your doctor for treatment or learn about how to treat diabetes.
- Stop smoking
Smoking is a most preventable risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke hurt the cardiovascular system by damaging blood vessels, causing blood clot. So if you smoke, quit now!
Read also: 9 best tips to help you quit smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke. If you keep your intake within healthy limits, drink occasionally will not increase your risk of stroke. The U.S. guidelines recommend that women should drink no more than one glass a day, while men should not drink more than two.
- Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, lose a few pounds is the best way to reduce your risk of stroke. Over weight can also make your heart work harder, increase your blood pressure. By losing weight, you can reduce both risk factors at the same time.
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise helps lower blood pressure, creating a healthy balance of blood fats and increase your body’s ability to respond to insulin, a hormone to control blood sugar levels. Brisk walking, running or cycling for an hour or more per day can help keep your body fit and stay healthy.
- Eat a healthy diet
Eating healthy foods is probably the most effective way to reduce the risk of stroke, because it can protect you from developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and other disease. Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and cut down your intake of saturated fat, which promotes hardening of the arteries, by eating less red meat. Choose fish and poultry instead.