Proven And Simple Ways To Prevent A Stroke

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If you are worried about suffering a stroke and are looking for ways to prevent a stroke, then this article is for you.

Stroke affects millions of people across the globe every year. Next to a heart attack, stroke can cause a great deal of disability. Quality of life can be greatly affected.

There are very simple ways to identify a stroke, but as we know, prevention is better than cure. According to the website Stroke.org, 80% of strokes can be prevented.

Today, I will talk about some of the proven and simple ways to prevent a stroke.

Ways To Prevent A Stroke

#1 Lose Weight

You may not realize it, but the heavier you are, the greater your chances of suffering from a stroke.

dr vivek baliga prevent stroke article

Obesity has not just been linked to the development of a stroke, but can also lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and joint problems. Many of these are risk factors for stroke.

Target

Maintain a body mass index of around 23. Anything above that and you are overweight.

Method

  1. Consume fewer calories in your diet. You could cut down simple carbohydrates such as rice and sugars. Opt instead for whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep them colorful!
  2. Replace your evening meal with a soup and a fresh salad. Avoid salad dressing if possible, as these are packed with calories and fats.
  3. Never miss your breakfast. Missing your breakfast actually makes you put of weight because of the metabolic changes it can generate. Keep it healthy and simple. A bowl of fruits with a cup full of oats is a great way to start the day. Avoid sugary cereals as this will only add to the calories.
  4. Exercise more than you eat. If you burn more calories than you consume, you are guaranteed to lose weight. For example, if you consume an average of 1500 calories a day, your exercise should burn much more than that. This way, you are guaranteed to lose weight.

#2  Stay On Your Feet

Couch potatoes are at a higher risk of developing a stroke. Leading a sedentary lifestyle has it’s disadvantages, and one main one is health problems.

ways to prevent a stroke

Even if your job is one that requires you to sit for long hours, make sure you get up and move from time to time. Try and get in some exercise by walking to the water cooler, meeting a colleague on a higher floor in the building (by climbing steps of course!) or by just taking a short walk around campus.

If you are taking public transport home, get down at a stop or 2 before your usual stop and walk home. The added calorie burn will help you lose weight and is one of the ways to prevent a stroke.

Target

To exercise at least 150 to 200 minutes a week.

Method

  1. Wake up at least 20 minutes before your normal time and go for a walk. The breath of fresh air will enliven you.
  2. Got friends that wish to work out as well? Either form a fitness group or join a gym together. People who work out together tend to lose more weight and get fitter than those who do it alone.
  3. Make sure your exercise routine incorporates moderate intensity exercise. In other words, when you complete your workout, you should have a little difficulty completing sentences when talking.
  4. Of course, you could be lazy and take the elevator if you wish. But take the stairs, and your could decrease your risk of developing a stroke.
  5. Split your workouts if you are too busy. If your work and personal schedule is preventing you from spending a good 1 to 1.5 hours exercising at a stretch, then split your routine into ‘bite-size’ chunks.

Want to learn more about how brisk walking can help you? Then you have to read our article ‘10000 steps a day‘ now!

#3 Just A Glass And No More

If you enjoy alcohol from time to time, then there is no harm in partaking in it, as long as you observe it in moderation.

can alcohol prevent stroke

In 2006, an article published in the journal Stroke found that moderate consumption of alcohol significantly reduced the risk of ischemic stroke (the type of stroke that occurs due to reduced blood supply to the brain).

But I am not asking you to go out and down a bottle of the finest whisky. But alcohol in moderation is just one of the ways to prevent a stroke.

Target

To drink alcohol in moderation

Method

  1. It is okay to have one drink a day, unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.
  2. Try and choose red wine over other alcohols. It contains a good quantity of a compound called resveratrol. This has powerful anti – oxidant properties that can protect your brain and your heart.
  3. Avoid binge drinking. Alcohol binges are harmful and can increase your risk of irregular heart rhythms and heart failure. Many of us are aware of what an alcohol binge can do to our state of mind!
  4. If you are not one who drinks alcohol, don’t start now! It is not recommended to start consuming alcohol just because of it’s benefits.

#4 Keep Your Cholesterol Low

Having a high cholesterol has been shown time and again to increase the risk of stroke.

The higher your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), the greater your risk of developing a stroke.

Target

To keep a low bad cholesterol level

Method

  1. Eat foods that are low in fat and salt.
  2. Use oils that are high in mono and polyunsaturated fats. The best oils include olive oil, rice bran oil and some sunflower oils.
  3. Avoid eating sweets and sugary foods on a regular basis
  4. Check your cholesterol level at least once every 6 months (more frequently if your doctor has advised you to do so.
  5. To prevent a stroke, your total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL and bad LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dL.
  6. If required, a short course of medications called statins can help. Your doctor will guide you on the dose and duration of treatment.

#5 Quit The Cig

bad effects of smoking

If you are a cigarette smoker, then your risk of stroke is twice as much as a non-smoker.

One of the most simple ways to prevent a stroke is to put out that cigarette forever.

Target

To stop smoking completely

Method

  1. Make up your mind to stop smoking first
  2. Gradually cut down over a period of weeks
  3. Ask your doctor about the use of medicines such as varenecline to help you stop
  4. Set a target date to stop, and do your best to achieve that target

View our 10 step guide to stop smoking.

#6 Keep An Eye On Your Blood Pressure

A high blood pressure has been linked to the development of both strokes and heart disease.

Usually hereditary, high blood pressure can occur at any age. There may be no clear reason identified as to why it has happened.

Controlling blood pressure is extremely important, as a high blood pressure can lead to a blood clot or bleeding within the brain.

Target

To control blood pressure within normal range

Method

  1. Keep your salt intake low. The recommended salt intake should be no more than 4 gms per day. This is equivalent to a flattened teaspoon of salt for the entire day.
  2. Exercise regularly. Both yoga and aerobic exercises have numerous health benefits, including control of blood pressure.
  3. Visit your doctor regularly. They will be able to guide you about how you can manage your BP.
  4. Purchase a blood pressure monitoring device. Having one at home will help you keep an eye on your blood pressure without having to rush to the doctor every time. You can purchase blood pressure monitors online here.

Closing Remarks

A stroke can be devastating. Once it occurs, you may regret not following this advice at the time. Strokes can affect quality of life immensely and can make you lose your independence completely.

Follow these simple ways to prevent a stroke, and you could be on your way to a long and healthy life!

Dr Vivek Baliga B

Dr Vivek Baliga B

Consultant Internal Medicine at Baliga Diagnostics Pvt Ltd
Dr Baliga is a consultant in Internal Medicine with an interest in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He received his training in the United Kingdom where he completed his post graduate training and his doctorate. He then completed his MBA from University of Phoenix, USA. He has completed the post graduate program in Cardiology from Johns Hopkins University and participated in the Advanced Certificate Course in Diabetes from the Cleveland Clinic, USA. He is the managing partner of Baliga Diagnostics, Bangalore. He is also the founder of HeartSense and is a keen advocate of patient empowerment, having written almost every article on this website and more. In his spare time, he enjoys running and spending time with his son. Find Dr Vivek Baliga on LinkedIn here - http://heartsense.in/linkedin.
Dr Vivek Baliga B

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