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A Guide to Stroke Prevention

Each year, approximately 425,000 women will have a stroke – and this is approximately 55,000 more than men will have. Age does make a person more susceptible and so does a close family relative that has had a stroke in the past. There’s no way of reversing the years or changing family history, but there is something to be said about knowledge being powerful.

Stroke prevention can become a focus for everyone, regardless of age.

Low blood pressure is desired because it can significantly reduce the risk of stroke. People who have high blood pressure are four times more likely to experience a stroke. An ideal blood pressure should be less than 120 on the top and less than 80 on the bottom. Ways to reduce blood pressure is to avoid high cholesterol foods, get more exercise, and eat at least 4 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

Losing weight can help a person to reduce the risk of stroke as well. A BMI should be 25 or less and even losing 10 pounds can have an impact on overall risk. The goal is not to consume more than 1500 to 2000 calories a day depending on gender and activity level and increase activities to at least 30 minutes a day.

Exercise has the ability to lower blood pressure and help a person to lose weight. Exercise should take place at least 5 times a week and consist of at least 30 minutes. For people who don’t have the ability to exercise for 30 minutes at once, it can be broken up to 10 to 15 minute sessions.

Other ways to help prevent stroke include:

  • Taking a baby aspirin a day
  • Treating diabetes
  • Treating atrial fibrillation
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, limiting to 1 per day
  • Quit smoking

Everyone needs to know what the signs of a stroke are. The acronym FAST is used where F=Face, A=Arms, S=Speech and T=Time. Other signs include numbness on the face, weakness on one side of the body, vision loss, severe and unusual headache, tingling, and walking unsteadily.

A health care professional should be contacted to learn about overall risk of stroke and gain help following the health guidelines in terms of lowering blood pressure, controlling cholesterol levels and keeping current diseases and illnesses under control. Man and women alike are able to get a stroke and it can occur at any age.

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