Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability all over the world. Sometimes the underlying medical conditions increase the risks of stroke. By keeping these risk factors under control and by making few changes in diet and lifestyle, one can prevent a stroke.
Most common stroke risk factors are:
- High BP(greater than 140/90 mm hg)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- High total cholesterol (greater than 200 units)
- Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm)
- Circulation problems such as carotid and /or coronary artery disease
- Sedentary Life
Prevention of medical risk factors
- High BP (Hypertension): High BP goes undetected sometimes so the only way of knowing hypertension is to get it checked regularly. It weakens the blood vessels, increases the chances of atherosclerosis and blockage and thus puts the person on risk of stroke drastically.
- Hypertension can be controlled by taking proper medications and by taking less sodium, fat-free healthy diet, exercising regularly and proper stress management.
- Uncontrolled diabetes: People with diabetes due to presence of high blood sugar levels are more prone to develop atherosclerosis, which directly increases the chances of stroke.
- Proper medication along with healthy lifestyle and diet altogether will help in controlling diabetes.
- High Cholesterol: High cholesterol levels (more than 200 mg/dl) increases the chances of blockage within the arteries supplying blood to brain, which may lead to stroke.
- Maintaining high levels of LDL (good cholesterol), low levels of HDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering the total cholesterol will lower the risk remarkably.
- Diet and exercise are highly effective in lowering the cholesterol but in severe cases cholesterol lowering medicines may be needed.
- Atrial fibrillation (Irregular heartbeats) and other circulation problems: Atrial fibrillation can be a potential threat to stroke patients as it increases the chances of clot formation in major blood vessels supplying the brain quite severely.
- Keeping it controlled with the help of healthy living style, can cut down the risk of stroke by 80%.
Adopting a Healthy lifestyle
It is the only way you can prevent the risk of stroke . Not just stroke but a healthy lifestyle prevents many health issues.
- To lower the odds of having stroke or even relapse of stroke, diet plays a very important role. Low sodium diet, which comprise sodium not more than 2300 mg/day and up to 1500 mg/day for people age above 50 yrs.
- Food for stroke patients should have all the essential nutrients in right proportion and consuming the right amount of food will makes the difference.
- Vegetables, fruits, low fat or fat free dairy products, whole grains will help in reducing total cholesterol, BP and excess body weight. Lean meat, fish should be preferred over red meat.
- Food products having Trans fats should be completely shunned. Processed food and beverages having excess sugar and Trans fats should be avoided.
- Physical activity in any form will improve the overall health of the individual by improving metabolism, improving heart function and reducing BP and cholesterol. Benefits are countless and can even help in stress management. Inactivity and sedentary life puts a lot of negative impact on the overall health of the person. Thus, exercise for stroke patients is highly recommended.
- Obesity can expose a person to many medical problems because of the greater chances of having high cholesterol levels, high BP and can become a cause for heart disease and diabetes (type II).
- Maintaining a healthy weight is very important.
- Smoking alone can significantly increase the risk of stroke.
- Smoking along with other risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, stress etc. increase the risk factor for stroke many folds.
- Quitting smoking will help in preventing stroke and control other severe medical problems too.
- Heavy drinkers are at great risk factors of stroke. Heavy alcoholism can cause liver damage due to which formation of substances that cause blood clotting may get hampered.
- It may directly increase the risk of having stroke caused by bleeding in brain (Haemorrhage). Hence smoking and consumption of alcohol should be completely stopped.