How to Outrun the Threat of Stroke
By Sandy Schroeder
Stroke is one of those scary words we all carry around with us as we see relatives or friends run into trouble and never quite return to their original selves.
Fearing stroke is not all bad if you are willing to take some smart steps to sidestep the issue. According to healthharvard.edu, there are some very effective ways to reduce the chance of stroke that you could be doing right now.
You can’t change your heredity or your age, but you can be aware of what your particular vulnerabilities are and take some proactive steps.
To help improve your chances of not falling victim to stroke, dial in on the following areas.
Lower Blood Pressure – According to the Harvard medical team, high blood pressure can double or even quadruple your stroke risk. The target reading is 120/80 or 120/90. To get there, ditch the ice cream, double-decker burgers and gooey cheese. Cut salt back to a half teaspoon a day and eat four to five cups of fruits and vegetables daily with fish two to three times a week; have daily servings of low-fat dairy and whole grains. See your doctor for an overall evaluation and the possible use of blood pressure medications.
Don’t Smoke – Smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for stroke. No two ways about it, if you are worried about stroke, put out that cigarette and move on.
Lose Weight – Just losing 10 pounds could reduce your stroke risk. The healthy target is a body mass index, BMI, of 25 or less. Cut your calories to 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day, linked to your weight and BMI, and increase your exercise to 30 minutes daily. Walk, jog, run, work-out, do yoga, hit the basketball court, or go boating. Whatever works, get out there every day.
Limit Drinking – No matter how inviting that said-to-be healthy glass of red wine seems, make sure you hold drinks to two per day for men, and one per day for women. A drink is measured as an ounce-and-a-half of liquor, five ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. Skip weekend binges too.
Know the Medical Risks – If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, atrial fibrillation or high cholesterol, these are all serious conditions and risks for stroke that your doctor will monitor and treat. Stay with the advised treatment and find out what you can do to reduce the effects.
Overall, health experts are telling us stroke risk can be reduced with persistent daily steps that will also deliver more energy, lighten the mood, and probably prolong life. So what are you waiting for? Get started and get better.