Although a stroke can come with warning signs, it can be too late by the time you notice. The signs and symptoms can come on rapidly and create terrifying situations. The best thing you can do is understand the risk factors for stroke and how best to manage them.
High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and the most significant controllable risk factor. If you know or suspect that you have high blood pressure, make sure you are using medication as prescribed and keeping your numbers low with different lifestyle choices. Try to limit sodium intake, alcohol, and caffeine.
Smoking – Both nicotine and carbon monoxide can damage your cardiovascular system which can ultimately lead to a stroke. Quitting smoking can be one life style change that can greatly reduce your chances of a stroke. This is also a good option if you have other stroke risk factors that are not as easily manageable.
Diet & Lifestyle – Try to limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Incorporating healthy servings of fruits and vegetables is great for your overall health and for managing risk. It can also help you avoid obesity which can not only increase risk of heart disease and stroke, but even create more risk factors such as diabetes.
It is also important to stay active throughout the week. Walking for 30 minutes a day can do wonders for the body. Even if you have a busy lifestyle with no time for extra exercise there is simple ways of avoiding inactivity. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or standing up at your desk to work or even park a little farther away from where you work to get some extra steps and fresh air in!
Heart/Artery Diseases – Carotid Artery Disease, Peripheral Artery Disease, and AFib are all risk factors for stroke and definitely harder to manage. Keeping up with a healthy diet will limit the chances of plaque build up in your arteries or reduce chance of clots. Worrying about your heart health is extremely important for managing stroke risk as the link between heart disease and stroke is significant.
Know the Signs of Stroke in Elderly Adults:
- Numbness in the face/limbs, most commonly on one side of the body
- Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
- Severe headaches
- Difficulty with communication
- Lack of coordination
Read more on stroke signs, symptoms, and prognosis here.