Tags: stroke | prevention | blood pressure | weight | diet | alcohol | exercise

Most Strokes Can Be Prevented: Here's How

'stroke' written in chalk on a model of the head
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 02 November 2023 11:38 AM EDT

Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke, and about three-quarters occur in people over the age of 65. That’s because as we age our arteries become less flexible, potentially leading to clogged arteries. This raises the risk for an ischemic stroke, the most common type, when a blood vessel to the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot.

According to The Washington Post, about 80% of strokes are preventable. Lifestyle steps can help you reduce your risk of stroke. Here’s what to know:

  1. Watch your numbers. Manage high blood pressure and reduce sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams daily. High blood pressure may be responsible for half of all strokes, according to research. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Watch for atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects about 10% of people over the age of 80. People with A-fib are five times more likely to have a stroke. Type 2 diabetes and elevated cholesterol can also increase the risk of stroke, says the Post.
  2. Get enough exercise. Being overweight is a risk factor for stroke, so maintaining a healthy weight is important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, including walking, each week. Get out of your chair or off the couch as often as possible. A 2022 study in JAMA Network Open found that people who sat for 13 hours or more a day had a whopping 44% higher risk of stroke.
  3. Eat a Mediterranean diet. Experts say that following a Mediterranean diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, plus heart-healthy fats such as olive oil and lots of fish can reduce your risk of a cardiovascular event like heart attack or stroke by as much as 26 percent compared to those who follow a low-fat diet.
  4. Cut back on alcohol. A study published in January linked high alcohol consumption (more than14 drinks a week for women and more than 21 for men) to higher stroke risk. Older adults should limit their alcoholic beverages to one per day, said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a leading cardiologist and medical director of Atria New York City. Cut back or cut out smoking since this habit doubles the likelihood of dying from a stroke.
  5. Avoid pollutants. A review published in the journal Stroke said that even short-term exposure to air pollution may raise stroke risk. Check the air quality where you live by visiting AirNow.gov. On days with high pollution, limit your time outdoors.
  6. Control stress. High stress is linked to increased stroke risk according to research. One study

found that one stressful life event increased the risk of stroke by 17%, while two raised the risk to 31%. Goldberg says that using mindfulness apps may help reduce stress as well as lower blood pressure, a key stroke risk factor.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and seek emergency help if you experience them. Remember the acronym FAST:

•F for face drooping

•A for arm weakness

•S for speech difficulty

•T time to call 911
 

Lynn C. Allison

Lynn C. Allison, a Newsmax health reporter, is an award-winning medical journalist and author of more than 30 self-help books.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke, and about three-quarters occur in people over the age of 65. That's because as we age our arteries become less flexible, potentially leading to clogged arteries. This raises the risk for an ischemic stroke, the most...
stroke, prevention, blood pressure, weight, diet, alcohol, exercise
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2023-38-02
Thursday, 02 November 2023 11:38 AM
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