Can you prevent strokes? Yes! We’re not talking about stopping a stroke while it’s happening, rather this is a discussion on how to reduce your risk of ever having a stroke.
Let’s Have a Real Talk about What Factor’s Contribute to Strokes
Here are the most common factors that may contribute to a stroke:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Carotid Artery Disease (narrowing of the arteries)
- Arrhythmia or AFIB
- Prior stroke
- Family history
- Heart attack
- Amount of exercise
That is a long list, but there are other things that could have been added to it. Don’t get discouraged about how big the list is, rather be encouraged at how many things are on the list that are within your control.
My Stroke Education
I never really cared much about strokes until I was laying in the hospital after my stroke in 2013. I have been educated many times over things that lead to strokes since then but it wasn’t until recently that I really started asking the hard questions.
- Why does my doctor seem so concerned about my blood pressure?
- Why does it matter if I have bacon in the morning and cheeseburgers at lunch?
- What does my family history have to do with anything?
It seems like I never “really” listened to the doctor and nurses after I had the stroke but now things have changed and I guess I’m fearful that another stroke is in my future.
So, How Can We Prevent a Stroke or Reduce Our Risk?
Let’s keep things simple and out of the lofty world of medical jargon.
Look at the list above and consider all the things we can do immediately to prevent a stroke or reduce the risk of a stroke.
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Eat healthy – Mediterranean Diet for example, but there are many other types
- Reduce salt intake
- Exercise regularly
- Reach a healthy weight
- Limit the amount of alcohol consumed
- Reduce your cholesterol
- Cook with low fat oils or healthy oils like olive oil
- Eliminate trans fats
- Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts, spinach, etc.)
- Increase fiber intake
- Increase your physical activity (walking is something easy everyone can do)
- Reduce your weight to a healthy level
- Stop smoking or cut back
- Stop drinking or have only one drink per day
These are six extremely important steps all of us can take to prevent strokes or reduce the risk of a stroke. Some of these are hard for us to do but they can be done and should be done.
Think hard about this. What is the alternative? We can ignore the simple things in front of us that all of us can control, or we face the possible future of being physically incapacitated and most likely in a nursing home some day when we all know that we would not bet cared for as well as we would like.
There are several things on the list above we have no control over but my advice is to forget about those things we can’t control and focus on what we can control.
What’s in Your Future?
Do you and I want to take the easy way out, for a short period of time, and live life as we please? That’s a pleasant thought right now sitting in our comfortable chair while we still have the ability to feed ourself, bath ourself and use the bathroom without having someone there to watch us in such a private matter. This is serious.
We need to take the hard road now so that we can live a better life now and in the future.
It’s your decision and my decision. I have made my mind up to take the hard road and live a longer, healthier life.