When the blood supply to your brain is suddenly interrupted, reduced, or cut off, your brain is unable to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. This medical emergency is called a stroke, and it is one of the most potentially devastating events that can happen to you or a loved one.
This may sound scary, but the good news is that up to 80% of strokes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes and monitoring of risk factors. Since May is National Stroke Awareness Month, we’re reviewing what steps you can take to reduce your risk of stroke and live a long and happy life!
Eat a healthy diet.
An unhealthy diet can lead to conditions that increase your risk of stroke. This includes high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Choosing healthy foods, therefore, will lower your risk. Cut back on saturated and trans fats, sugar, salt, red meat, and processed foods. Instead, focus on incorporating high-fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins into your regular diet.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Obese and overweight individuals are at a greater risk of stroke, due to the health complications that come with these conditions. Even losing just 10 pounds will reduce your chances of having a stroke significantly. The key to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is to follow a healthy diet, as mentioned above. Aim for 1500-2000 calories per day (although this may differ depending on your activity level). Regular exercise is also crucial to maintaining weight and staying healthy in general.
Smokers are twice as likely to have a stroke as nonsmokers. This is because smoking makes your blood thicker and leads to plaque buildup in your arteries, leaving you more vulnerable to blood clots. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about your best options for quitting. There are things that can help you quit, such as nicotine patches/gum, counseling, or medication. Don’t give up if you’re unable to quit on your first try—each attempt is a step closer to success.
Drink less alcohol.
Excessive alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure and triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), and cause irregular heartbeat and weight gain, which can all increase your risk of stroke. While you don’t have to swear off altogether, it’s important to drink in moderation. Try to limit yourself to one glass per day (5oz of wine, 12oz of beer, 1.5oz of liquor). Red wine is also a better option if you do drink, as some studies have shown it actually has been associated with a lower risk of stroke.
Manage underlying conditions.
There are a lot of underlying health conditions that can put you at an increased risk for stroke. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea are among the most common. If you have one of these, or another condition associated with a higher risk of stroke, work with your doctor to monitor your condition and keep it under control.
If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, BEK Medical has the home medical supplies you need to help with your recovery. We can provide you with daily living aids, rehab equipment, home mobility services, and anything else you need to live as independently and pain-free as possible. We also have products to help you monitor at home any conditions that may increase your risk for a stroke, so you can prevent a first or repeat event.
Find the home medical equipment you need today online or at one of our locations in Dallas or El Paso!