As we age, the prospect of having a stroke becomes more likely. You might be particularly susceptible if either of your parents or close relatives had a stroke.
Of course, you can’t do anything about your genes or family history, but as long as you are aware of the risks you can quite considerably reduce the likelihood of suffering from the condition.
The main thing is to be aware of the risks and take steps to avoid them.
WATCH YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure is a significant factor if not kept under control. In fact, high blood pressure can double or even quadruple your chances of having a stroke in both men and women.
Ideally, your blood pressure should be in the range of less than 130/85, though this can vary from person to person.
TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE LOW
- Cut down on the amount of salt in your diet to no more than about half a teaspoon per day.
- Avoid foods high in cholesterol such as fried foods, cheese and ice cream.
- Aim for a diet high in fruit and vegetables, and eat fish 2-3 times a week, whole grain foods and low-fat dairy products.
- Exercise for 30 minutes or more per day.
- If you smoke, the answer is simple. Give up!
The majority of us, as we age, tend to gain weight. Obesity raises your chances of having a stroke. Losing as little as 10lbs can have a significant impact on improving your health.
Ideally, your body mass index (BMI) should be 25 or less; though, in reality, this can be hard to achieve. Consult your doctor to create an achievable weight-loss program.
The average calorie intake should be around 1500–2000 per day, depending on your size, build, BMI and level of physical activity.
Exercise does contribute to losing weight; however, keep in mind that exercise alone does not reduce the risk of having a stroke.
- Take a short walk around the block every morning after breakfast.
- When you do exercise, it should be at a pace where you feel that you are breathing hard but not to the extent that you can hardly speak. The idea is to get your heart pumping but not to kill you! You should try to do this at least five times per week.
- A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day is advisable, but if you don’t feel you can do it all at once, two 15-minute bursts of exercise will be just fine.
- Take the stairs as opposed to the lift when reasonably possible.
- There are many fitness clubs for older people which can be fun and also help you increase your social life – another key to happiness and better health!
High blood sugar levels damage your blood and make clotting more likely, so keep your blood sugar under control.
Follow your doctor’s advice and monitor your blood sugar as directed.
Use diet, exercise and any prescribed medication to maintain your blood sugar level within the recommended range.
SIGNS OF A STROKE INCLUDE:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Numbness of the face
- An unusual and severe headache
- Loss of vision
- Tingling and numbness
- An unsteady walk
IF YOU HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THESE SYMPTOMS CALL AN AMBULANCE STRAIGHT AWAY.