Yes, you have some control over the likelihood of having a stroke. Not total control, but some.
Both advancing age and a family history of strokes makes one more susceptible to having a stroke, and these things cannot be changed or reversed or avoided. A stroke occurs when there is a blood clot or broken blood vessel that interrupts blood flow.
There are, however, lifestyle changes anyone can make to help prevent strokes. According to the National Stroke Association, 17 million are affected by strokes worldwide and up to 80% of strokes are preventable.
Preventing a stroke is all about reducing risk and the National Stroke Association recommends the following:
- Studies show a connection between alcohol use and strokes so it is suggested that people drink in moderation, or no more than two drinks a day for men and one a day for women.
- Smoking can double the risk of stroke so it is recommended that smokers quit and not give up on kicking the habit.
- Exercise has been proven to reduce stroke risk so choose some sort of physical activity to do a few days a week, maybe with a friend. It can be dancing, walking, jogging, swimming, or something else that gets the heart rate up. This can help lower blood pressure, which is a major factor in stroke risk. Always check with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.
- Put down the sweets. By consuming less sugar, high-cholesterol foods, sodium and saturated fats, and replacing them with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and proteins, a person can potentially lower blood pressure and lower their risk of stroke.
If you have a higher risk for a stroke, contact your health care provider to discuss strategies to decrease the chances of having a stroke.