5 Top Tips for Stroke Prevention

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5 Top Tips For Stroke Prevention
5 Top Tips For Stroke Prevention. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com.

Stroke, or a cerebrovascular (CVA) attack in medical terms, is a condition wherein the brain doesn’t get enough blood supply to one or multiple areas of the brain. Without blood to supply that area, the brain doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Without blood supply, cells in the brain begin to die within minutes, leading to long-term or permanent disability, brain damage, and potentially, death.

Here Are 5 Top Tips For Preventing Stroke:

1. Reduce alcohol intake. A recent study also put people who drink more than three alcoholic beverages a week at risk for stroke. [2]

2. Keep your blood pressure in check. Keeping your blood pressure in balance might be one of the most important preventive measures for stroke. [3] Regularly check your blood pressure and keep it within the ranges of 120/80 and 100/70. Controlling an existing hypertension condition by regularly taking the medication prescribed to you by your doctor is extremely important as well. Maintenance medication for blood pressure should be taken strictly as prescribed even if you’re not feeling the effects of hypertension.

3. Get in shape. Obesity was identified as an independent factor contributory to developing a stroke. [4] This means that you can get a stroke just by being obese. Enrolling in a regular exercise program and controlling your weight is crucial in avoiding stroke.

4. Eat Healthy. Avoid excess intake of salt and completely eliminate processed and fast food from your diet. Unsurprisingly, a heart-healthy diet is also the kind to adopt for preventing stroke. [5] High fiber foods such as oats, barley, and cornmeal will help clean your blood vessels right up. Nuts, berries, beans, low-fat soy milk, and fatty fish high in omega-3 will also help you prevent stroke by lowering the levels of cholesterol in your blood. [6]

5. Stop smoking. Smoking, and even second hand smoke, can cause damage to the blood vessels in your brain and raise the levels of bad fat in your circulation, putting you in danger of an ischemic stroke. [7] Establishing a no smoking policy at work and at home can help you and the people around you avoid stroke.

Detecting A Stroke – Act F.A.S.T!

Someone who has previously suffered a stroke can very well suffer another one. Someone who suddenly experiences a disturbance in breathing or swallowing, as well as someone who feels a sudden, stabbing chest pain, with or without a history of stroke, should seek emergency medical attention right away. When in doubt, use the F.A.S.T. test to determine if the person is suffering a stroke.

Facial response: Establish a straight, face-to-face direction with the person and ask them to smile. If one side droops, or is unnaturally disproportionate, the person may be suffering a stroke.

Arm raise: Ask the person to stand up straight and raise both arms. If the person can’t raise both arms, or one of the arms drift downward, the person may be suffering a cerebrovascular attack and should be taken to the hospital right away.

Speech disruption: A person suffering a stroke suddenly develops a slur or a stutter, or otherwise speaks unnaturally. Ask them to repeat any simple phrase, or tell them to state the date and time. This is related to the next test.

Time: A person suffering a stroke may suddenly become confused or disoriented. Time is of the essence when managing a stroke, and medical attention should be sought immediately upon manifestation of any of these signs.

Risk Factors for Stroke:
A diet high in bad fats, lack of exercise, a highly stressful lifestyle, and smoking puts you at risk for developing a stroke. [1] People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease also puts you at grave risk for suffering stroke.

References / Further Reading:

[1] Risk factors for ischaemic and intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke in 22 countries (the INTERSTROKE study): a case control study. The Lancet. https://thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2810%2960834-3/abstract

[2] Heavy Alcohol Intake and intracerebral hemorrhage. Neurology. https://neurology.org/content/79/11/1109.abstract

[3] Stroke Risk Factors. American Heart Association. https://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/28/7/1507.full

[4] Body Mass Index and Thromboemolic Stroke in Nonsmoking Men in Older Middle Age. The Honolulu Heart Program. https://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/25/12/2370.full.pdf

[5] The ideal diet for preventing stroke, heart disease and more is essentially the same. Heart and Stroke Foundation. https://heartandstroke.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?b=4869055&c=ikIQLcMWJtE&ct=13135043

[6] Effect of a Dietary Portfolio of Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Given at 2 Levels of Intensity of Dietary Advice on Serum Lipids in Hyperlipidemia. The Journal of the American Medical Association. https://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1104262

[7] Smoking and Heart Disease and Stroke. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/heart-disease-stroke.html

[8] Stroke Signs and Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://cdc.gov/stroke/signs_symptoms.htm

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