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7 Critical Things You Should Know about Strokes

By Sandy Schroeder

Age and heredity are key risk factors for stroke, but recognizing risky lifestyle triggers can be crucial, too.

Harvard Health says there are many stroke risk factors that can be avoided with lifestyle changes. If you are in your forties or fifties, carrying extra weight, smoking, dealing with high blood pressure, or drinking heavily, it might be time to make some changes.

Check Harvard Health’s list and start protecting your family and yourself now.

Pay attention to blood pressure – Check blood pressure with your doctor and discuss steps to lower it if it is elevated. Doctors say high blood pressure can quadruple chances of a stroke. New blood pressure standards are being evaluated with 135/85 currently considered healthy. To lower blood pressure naturally, cut salt intake to a half teaspoon per day, eat less fatty foods, exercise more, eat more fruits and don’t smoke.

Exercise every day – Work 30 minutes of activity into your schedule every day to fight stroke, cut weight and reduce blood pressure. Find spots in your schedule that will actually work, then use walks, runs, biking or workouts to stay active. Get your doctor’s approval before you start new routines.

Hold the weight down – Losing as few as 10 pounds can reduce stroke risk. See your doctor to evaluate your weight and consider loss if your BMI (body mass index) is higher than 25.

Keep drinking in check – Researchers say one drink a day may lower your risk for stroke, but when drinking goes beyond two drinks a day the risk spikes. Red wine contains resveratrol, which may help to protect the brain and heart.

Stop smoking – Smoking increases artery plaque and thickens blood, seriously increasing stroke risk. See your doctor for counseling, medicine, nicotine pills or patches.

Be aware of atrial fibrillation – This irregular heartbeat causes clots to form in the heart, which can create stroke. It increases the risk by five times. Heart palpitations or shortness of breath should be checked by the doctor and treated with anti-coagulant medications if confirmed as atrial fibrillation.

Deal with diabetes – High blood sugar increases the risk of clots in blood vessels. Have your sugar levels checked regularly and use exercise, diet and medicine to maintain normal glucose levels.

Strokes can be life-changing moments that cannot be reversed. If your lifestyle, age or heredity puts you at risk, know the signs of stroke.

F – Face: Check to see if one side of the face droops.

A – Arms: When you lift both arms, does one drift back down?

S – Speech: Is speech slurred or does it sound odd?

T – Time: If you see any of these signs in yourself or someone else,m call 911 immediately. Getting treatment within three hours can be the difference between recovery and lifelong disability.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tampa, Fla.

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