With World Stroke Day on 29 October we draw attention to preventative measures that any human can take to reduce their risk of having a stroke. Here are 10 steps you can take today.
1/ Eat a Healthy Diet
Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and sodium (salt). Consults your GP or nutritionist for a sustainable meal plan that suits your individual needs.
2/ Exercise Regularly
Engage in at least 150 minutes, ideally 300 minutes, of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Physical activity helps improve circulation, maintain a healthy weight and lowers blood pressure.
3/ Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is a risk factor for stroke. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a well-balanced diet (1) and exercise (2) can reduce your risk.
4/ If you’re a smoker – quit!
Smoking damages blood vessels and contributes to the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries. Quitting smoking significantly reduces stroke risk.
5/ Limit Alcohol Consumption
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol intake can raise blood pressure and contribute to stroke risk.
6/ Manage Stress
Chronic stress may contribute to stroke risk. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises.
7/ Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can increase the risk of blood clots, which can lead to stroke.
8/ Get Regular Check-ups
Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor and manage your risk factors. They can provide guidance on medications and lifestyle changes when necessary.
What if I have underlying conditions that could cause a stroke?
There may be some hereditary or health-related issues that individuals have that make the risk of stroke more likely. There are still steps that you can take, in addition to the above, that can help prevent a stroke.
- Know Your Family History. Be aware of your family’s medical history, including any instances of stroke or cardiovascular diseases. This information can help your healthcare provider assess your risk.
- If you have diabetes, work closely with your healthcare team to control your blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes can increase stroke risk.
- If you have high cholesterol, manage your cholesterol through diet, exercise and, if necessary, medication.
- If you have high blood pressure, monitor your blood pressure regularly and follow your doctor’s advice to keep it within a healthy range.
Remember that stroke prevention is a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Consult with your medical doctor for personalised guidance and recommendations based on your specific risk factors and medical history.