Lifestyle Changes for Stroke Prevention
Lifestyle changes for stroke prevention are easy to make and can help improve your overall physical health. There are some things such as your age and family history that cannot be changed, but there are things you can change to help prevent stroke.
The first step is getting enough regular exercise. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that healthy adults get a minimum of 40 minutes of moderate to high aerobic exercise 3-4 days per week. Exercise also reduces other health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure.
Maintaining a healthy diet and controlling sodium levels is also very important. Being overweight or obese and eating too much sodium increases blood pressure. Monitoring your sodium intake by cutting back on processed foods, soups, meats and bread will help lower your sodium intake. A diet high in potassium-rich foods such as as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy are key to optimum health.
Having high blood pressure is a big risk factor for stroke. As we age, our systolic blood pressure naturally increases. In fact, 90% of adults will develop high blood pressure at some point in their life. This is why it is important to control blood pressure through lifestyle changes. Diet, regular exercise and a low sodium diet is key to control blood pressure.
Another risk factor for stroke is high cholesterol. Keeping your arteries clean by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables with lean protein is the best way to keep your cholesterol level low. If you have high cholesterol due to family history, it may be necessary to take a statin medication to lower your levels.
Smoking can double your risk for stroke! Quitting cigarettes is crucial to reducing your stroke risk.
There are medications that also can be used to prevent stroke. For people who are at high risk for stroke, anticoagulant medications such as Warafin or aspirin can help prevent blood clots from forming and prevent stroke.
Lifestyle changes for stroke prevention are easy to make and can help improve your overall health. Following a healthy low sodium diet, regular exercise and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol are effective ways to prevent stroke.