How To Avoid a Stroke

A stroke can have devastating and permanent effects on a person. And it doesn't just happen to older people - even certain young people are at risk of having a stroke. Be aware of how you and your loved ones can avoid a stroke by following these suggestions.

Step 1

Maintain a good body weight. To avoid a stroke, be kind to your heart by keeping your body weight at a reasonable level. Check into the suggested BMI (body mass index) for your height, age and gender. Then work to achieve and maintain that weight. Less body weight contributes to a healthier heart and mind, both of which can help to prevent a stroke.

Step 2

Get lots of exercise. Aerobic exercise is also a great way to avoid a stroke. It keeps your blood moving and contributes to your overall health. Aim for at least a half hour of brisk aerobic activity a day, such as walking, running, biking, or swimming. (Of course, always talk to your doctor if you have any preexisting medical conditions that require a restricted exercise regime.)

As much as it is good to exercise frequently, it's also important that you work some relaxation time into your day. Reduce your stress, first of all, by lowering your responsibilities at work if possible. (This will be easier on your heart.) Then, try something like a yoga class or meditation to lessen the strain on your heart. Bring a sense of well-being to yourself, and you'll help yourself avoid a stroke.

Step 3

Eat right. It's also important to eat the right foods if you want to avoid a stroke. A diet low in fat will prevent poor vein and artery health. And good blood flow is critical if you want to prevent strokes. A diet low in fat, specifically saturated fats found in some meats and butter, will reduce your chances of health complications in the future. Lots of vegetables and whole grains are also great foods to eat if you're concerned about a stroke. Basically, avoid eating anything that is going to be hard on your heart.

Alcohol and drugs aren't recommended either, especially if you feel that you're at risk for a stroke. Abusing either of these substances can overwork your heart, and can cause a stroke at any age.

And obviously, you should stop smoking. Smoking restricts blood flow through your veins and arteries, which can lead to a stroke. Nicotine narrows your blood vessels, slowing down your circulation. You want to maintain healthy blood flow in order to avoid a stroke, so cut the smoking habit immediately.

Step 4

Keep an eye on your blood pressure. Your blood pressure can be a good indicator of your chances of having a stroke as well, so it's also important to monitor it. High blood pressure puts added stress and strain on your heart, requiring your blood to pump faster and your vessels to work even harder. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, should be avoided so as not to increase your chances of a stroke. Your doctor will suggest an appropriate blood pressure for you to aim for, and ensure that you monitor it often.

It is also a good idea to monitor your blood sugar as well. Diabetics, or even borderline diabetics, are especially at risk of a stroke. High blood sugar is tough on your arteries, raising your chances of a stroke. Avoid a stroke by having your blood sugar tested regularly by your doctor or your local pharmacy, and make any necessary adjustments to your eating and exercise habits.


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