7 Stroke Preventive Measures

Although the most at-risk population group of suffering a stroke is men. Its incidence increases greatly with age in women. In this article, discover stroke preventive measures.
7 Stroke Preventive Measures

Last update: 24 July, 2020

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain becomes deficient or cut off. As a consequence, neurons can end up damaged or even die. To avoid this, here are some stroke preventive measures.

According to a study published by the Journal of Neurology, the most at-risk population group of suffering a stroke is men. Nevertheless, its incidence increases greatly with age in women.

In fact, according to the Spanish Journal of Cardiology, this disease constitutes the first specific cause of death in women in Spain. What does it consist of? How to reduce the risk of suffering it? Read on to discover the answers to these questions!

What’s a stroke?

A stroke is a cerebrovascular disease that affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel breaks or becomes blocked by a clot or another particle.

As an MSD Manual article details, due to this breakage or blockage, part of the brain doesn’t get the blood, oxygen, and glucose flow it needs. The consequence is that the nerve cells in the affected brain area don’t get oxygen. Thus, they can’t function and die within a few minutes.

The risk factors

A man smoking.

Most strokes can be avoided. To do this, it’s necessary to adopt life habits that reduce risk factors to the minimum. According to the MSD Manual article we cited above, the most common are:

  • Firstly, hyperlipidemia. High cholesterol levels are one of the main risk factors for strokes.
  • Smoking. According to the Spanish Brain Injury Federation, different studies point to nicotine, oxidizing gases, and carbon monoxide in tobacco as culprits in the direct relationship between smoking and increased risk of stroke.
  • Also, diabetes. This disease increases the risk of suffering a stroke, especially type 2 diabetes.
  • Old age. Three-quarters of strokes affect patients over 65 years of age, according to a study published in Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra.
  • Likewise, suffering from high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the risk factor that most contributes to stroke.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Finally, family inheritance and race. Someone’s risk of suffering a stroke is higher if any of their relatives suffered one.

Stroke preventive measures

Considering the risk factors involved, you have to focus on those that are modifiable to reduce the risk of stroke. In this regard, some of the main stroke preventive measures are:

1. Following a healthy diet

A heart-healthy diet.

As the World Health Organization mentioned, a varied and healthy diet, especially focused on low-salt and low-fat foods, contributes to the prevention of diabetes and heart disease, among other conditions.

For this reason, you have to include fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals, in addition to fish, in your diet. It’s advisable to consult with a nutritionist to get a specific diet for each person’s needs.

2. Playing sports

A study published by the journal Neurology in 2012 indicates that it’s important to exercise regularly to decrease the risk factors for stroke. You simply have to do moderate exercise. In fact, walking an hour a day is enough, although intense exercise or playing sports could enhance these benefits.

3. Quitting smoking

Quitting is among the essential requirements to avoid suffering a stroke. While this is a challenging process for many people, publications such as Smokefree, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provide invaluable advice and, also, assistance in accomplishing this purpose.

4. Monitoring your blood pressure

It’s necessary to keep your blood pressure at healthy levels. This is because hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke.

5. Checking your cholesterol

On the other hand, having healthy cholesterol levels is key to avoid strokes. In this regard, the Spanish Heart Foundation details that high cholesterol levels, hypercholesterolemia, are those higher than 200 mg/dl.

According to a Mayo Clinic article, if you have high cholesterol levels, you must resort to dieting, exercising, and, in some cases, even taking medication. Of course, a medical professional should evaluate this.

High cholesterol.

6. Checking your blood sugar levels

Your blood sugar must also be within the healthy values recommended by health authorities and specialists. Regarding diabetics, they have to follow the treatment to the letter so that they don’t suffer episodes of hyperglycemia.

7. Reducing your alcohol consumption

Your alcohol consumption should be moderate. In fact, you should even avoid it entirely if there are one or more risk factors for suffering a stroke.

Stroke preventive measures: habits are key

Remember that a healthy lifestyle significantly reduces the risk factors for this disease. Therefore, proper nutrition, frequent exercise, and the reduction or elimination of tobacco and alcohol consumption significantly lower the risk of suffering a stroke.

All these actions demand daily commitment. Beyond the drugs a doctor can recommend in particular circumstances, the effort each person makes to live healthier is what will really make a difference.

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