Worried About Stroke? Here Are the Treatable Risk Factors — The most important treatable risk factors for stroke are easily understood according to the Institute of Neurological Disorders — take them seriously and you just might live a long and healthy life:
Start by getting your blood pressure under control: Hypertension is by far the most potent risk factor for stroke causing a two-to four-fold increase before the age of 80. If your blood pressure is high, you and your BIMC doctor need to work out an individual strategy to bring it down to the normal range.
Some ways to make it work are: maintain proper weight, avoid drugs known to raise blood pressure, cut down on salt and eat fruits and vegetables to increase potassium in your diet and be sure to exercise more!
Get your meds right: Your BIMC doctor may prescribe medicines that help lower blood pressure and by controlling blood pressure you will avoid heart disease, diabetes, and kidney failure.
Cigarette smoking is for fools: smoking causes about a two-fold increase in the risk of ischemic stroke and up to a four-fold increase in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke and linked to the buildup of fatty substances (atherosclerosis) in the carotid artery, the main neck artery supplying blood to the brain.
Control diabetes: In terms of stroke and cardiovascular disease, having diabetes is the equivalent of aging 15 years. You may think this disorder affects only the body’s ability to use sugar, or glucose but it also causes destructive changes in the blood vessels throughout the body, including the brain.
If blood glucose levels are high at the time of a stroke, then brain damage is usually more severe and extensive than when blood glucose is well controlled. Hypertension is common among diabetics and accounts for much of their increased stroke risk. Treating diabetes can delay the onset of complications that increase the risk of stroke.
Regularly check for a cholesterol imbalance: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) carries cholesterol (a fatty substance) through the blood and delivers it to cells. Excess LDL can cause cholesterol to build up in blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis, which is the major cause of blood vessel narrowing, leading to both heart attack and stroke.
Physical inactivity and obesity: obesity and inactivity are associated with hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Consider…
* Taking a walk around your neighborhood every morning after breakfast.
* Starting a fitness club with friends.
* When you exercise, reach the level at which you’re breathing hard, but you can still talk.
* Taking the stairs instead of an elevator when you can.
* If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up into 10-to-15-minute sessions a few times each day.