More than 140,000 people every year die from of a stroke in the United States alone. For those who survive, their lives can be drastically altered, and the risk of second and subsequent stokes is increased.
That said, you could take steps to reduce your risk of stroke, or its re-occurrence (if you’ve already had one), with these 7 tips…
1. Take A Walk
If you can’t get out and exercise much, build up to it with a daily walk. It doesn’t have to be far or for long to start with, just build walking into your routine.
Studies have shown that walking 2 hours a week, or around 20 minutes per day, can reduce your risk of stroke by up to 30%.
2. Cut Down Salt
Salt raises blood pressure, which increases your risk of stroke, so cut down on table salt and products with added salt. That means cold cuts, bacon and pre-packaged meals, canned and fast foods all come under the microscope.
You should consume no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium daily, or no more than a teaspoon of salt from all sources.
3. Use Olive Oil
Replace animal fats and less healthy vegetable fats with olive oil in your cooking. You can use olive oil for sautéing, frying and baking, as well as drizzling it in salads.
According to observational studies of French adults, those who use olive oil over other cooking fats have a 40% less chance of stroke.
4. Stop Smoking
If you need help to stop smoking, consult your doctor, but stop smoking and you significantly reduce your risk of stroke almost overnight. And within 5 years, your risk is no more than a non-smoker with similar health issues.
Carry on smoking, though, and your risk is increased by as much as 150% to 250%!
5. Go For Routine Health Screening
Once you hit 40, you need to undergo regular health screening to keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and monitor risk factors for early signs of problems.
6. Watch Your Weight
Being overweight increases the workload on your heart, which in turn pushes your blood pressure and risk of stroke up. Your body will also turn excess fat and cholesterol in to plaque, which sticks to the walls of your arteries and clogs them. Eventually, the lumps of plaque may dislodge from the artery wall causing blood clots, which can cut off blood supply to the brain and cause a stroke.
Stick to a healthy balanced diet and increase your activity levels to shed pounds and reduce your stroke risk. If you need to, seek medical advice before embarking on any weight loss regime.
7. Wake Up Sleepy Head
If you’re sleeping more than 10 hours a night, your stroke risk is increased by up to 63%, according to scientist at Harvard University.
Set your alarm so you only have the recommended 7 hours instead. In addition, if you snore, you’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.