Stroke prevention is important, as statistics show that almost 800,000 people suffer from a stroke every year. Of those strokes, about three quarters of them strike people over the age of 65. While family history plays a part in your risk for stroke, there are things you can do today to lower your risk, and actions you can take when a stroke occurs to lessen the damage.
Stroke prevention starts with small changes.
For stroke prevention, you can start doing small things today that can make a big difference. For instance, high blood pressure and strokes go hand-in-hand, so monitor your blood pressure regularly, particularly if your family history shows higher risk. An ideal blood pressure is less than 135/85, but even if it achieving that seems impossible, any progress you make is a success. Simply lower your salt intake, increase your exercise, and eat heart-healthy food. Changing your lifestyle may also help you lose weight if needed, another factor that contributes to strokes, so win-win!
Getting rid of bad habits increases your stroke prevention success.
We’ve already touched on the importance of a health diet and exercise regimen, but other issues contribute to our stroke risk. Quitting smoking is one of the best thing you can do for your overall health, including stroke prevention, according to an article from Harvard University. They state that smoking “thickens your blood, and it increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries.” Over-consumption of alcohol can also play a part. And if you also suffer from diabetes, your blood-sugar needs to be under control, so be alert.
If a stroke hits, act F.A.S.T.
Is it a stroke, or could it be something else, like epilepsy? The good news is, you don’t have to be the expert here? If you think you or someone you are with is having a stroke, act as though you are, and act F.A.S.T. Yes, literally, your quick response can lessen the damage the stroke causes. But F.A.S.T. is also a helpful acronym to remind you what to look for:
Facial Drooping: Look for a crooked smile, or one side of the face becoming slack. Arm Weakness: See if you or the person who may have had a stroke can lift their arm up fully. Speech Difficulties: Can the stroke victim talk? Can they understand you? Time: If you see any of these signs, act quickly. Call emergency responders immediately–better safe than sorry.
Stroke prevention may not be possible, but stroke safety is, so be alert and act quickly for the best possible outcome.