5 Ways to Prevent a Stroke
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 130,000 people each year. In fact, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke happens when a clot or blood vessel rupture interrupts the blood supply to part of the brain. Fortunately, 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Here are five lifestyle changes that can help you prevent stroke.
1. Manage Your Weight
Getting to a healthy weight can help regulate your blood pressure, which is critical in preventing stroke. High blood pressure is the No. 1 risk factor for stroke. Adopt smart weight-loss strategies for increasing the calories you burn and reducing the calories you consume.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
High cholesterol can increase your chances of having a stroke. Make sure you’re eating the ingredients of a healthy diet—plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains.
3. Get Moving
Activity throughout the day gets your heart pumping and increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain. It can help you manage your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, which all impact your risk of stroke. Aim for two hours and 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity each week.
4. Ditch the Cigarettes
Smoking is a leading risk factor for stroke. No matter how long you’ve been smoking, it’s not too late to ditch the cigarettes. Quitting will help lower your risk of stroke. Find a support program to help you stop smoking.
5. Limit Alcohol
Drinking alcohol can raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of stroke. Alcohol intoxication can lead to an increased risk of stroke when excessive amounts are consumed over extended periods of time. In addition to stroke prevention, educate yourself on the signs of a stroke. Seek immediate emergency care if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms. CHI St. Luke’s Health emergency departments are located throughout the Greater Houston area for quick access to care.