One out of every 20 American deaths are due to a stroke. Just this year in the U.S., 795,000 people will experience a stroke and almost 130,000 will die. The positive news? You have some control. You can take daily action to lower your risk of stroke by examining the way you eat, exercise and address medical concerns in your life.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked and brain cells quickly begin to deteriorate from the lack of oxygen. If a stroke goes untreated for too long, the individual may experience permanent brain damage or death. There are two types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is the most common and involves a blood clot that either forms in the brain’s blood vessels or travels to the brain from another location in the body. Plaque buildup on brain blood vessels can also cause this type of stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes involve a ruptured blood vessel that leaks blood into the brain which damages tissues and cells.
Risk Factors for Stroke
There are certain demographics more likely to experience strokes: males over 60. The risk rises when taking heredity and ethnicity into account. Those with family members who have experienced a stroke are more likely to also suffer one. Those of African-American and Hispanic ethnicity also suffer strokes at a higher percentage than Caucasians.
Other risk factors include heavy alcohol consumption and smoking. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease can all affect blood pressure and blood vessel flow, increasing stroke risk.
How to Prevent a Stroke
Medical professionals agree that at least 50 percent of all strokes could have been prevented. How can you proactively reduce your risk of stroke?
1.Reduce High Blood Pressure
Individuals with high blood pressure must constantly monitor their diet. Focus on cutting down your sodium intake by eliminating processed foods and purchasing the low-sodium product choice when available. Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables and avoid all foods with high saturated fat. Track what you eat and drink throughout the day to prevent accidentally consuming an unhealthy level of cholesterol and salt.
2. Stay on Top of Medical Conditions
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you have an even greater responsibility when it comes to diet management. If you feel overwhelmed, make an appointment with a nutritional counselor trained for assisting diabetes patients and establish a trusting, accountable relationship. For those diagnosed with heart disease, discuss a diet and exercise plan with your cardiac doctor. Make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage your diseases and maintain health.
The benefits of exercise in promoting health and resisting stroke cannot be understated, especially if losing weight is essential to overcoming obesity. According to Harvard Health Publications, women who walked for at least three hours a day were less likely to suffer a stroke than women who did not walk, as reported in a 2012 study. Try to engage in moderate-level physical activity at least five times per week.
A stroke is a real threat to your health and longevity. Make the necessary adjustments to your diet, your exercise habits and take charge of your medical conditions today. You can overcome your risk of stroke.