Stroke doesn’t strike out of the blue; this condition, in large part, can be prevented by taking a handful of measures and sticking to them, says the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines.
Stroke is extremely common, striking nearly 800,000 Americans every year.
This third-leading cause of U.S. deaths is a leading cause of disability in adults.
The following prevention tactics don’t just apply to a full-blown stroke.
They also apply to transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
TIAs are “mini strokes” and one out of three people who have a TIA will have a stroke within the year.
Guidelines for Stroke Prevention
Exercise. The human body evolved to be on the move. Exercise should be both cardio-aerobic and weight-bearing in nature and done at least four times per week.
Weight management. “People with obesity have high cholesterol levels in their body,” says Sashini Seeni, MD, a family medicine practitioner with DoctorOnCall, an online doctor and pharmacy.
“Cholesterol levels that are too high will form a layer on the walls of blood vessels.
“As a result, blood vessels become narrow, making it difficult for blood cells to flow throughout the body.
“If blood flow is blocked, the risk of dangerous diseases such as stroke increases.”
Overweight people who exercise and eat lots of fruits and vegetables would be in better shape if they lost some fat.
This also means that thin people who don’t exercise and eat a lot of junk would be much healthier if they exercised and ditched the junk food.
Don’t smoke. You already knew that. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start!
“Smoking and chewing tobacco can increase a person’s risk of having a stroke,” says Dr. Seeni.
“The reason is, the nicotine contained in tobacco can increase blood pressure to rise.
“Do not stop there: Cigarette smoke can also increase fat buildup in arteries.
“In addition, smoking and consuming tobacco can also make the blood clot and clot easily.”
Diet: Avoid bad fats (or at least, restrict them) and eat many fruits and vegetables.
Alcohol: Drink moderately if you must drink. What’s moderate? The standard recommendation by major medical establishments is one “glass” a day for women, and two for men. One “glass” is 4 ounces (half a cup).
Following the above guidelines will help prevent stroke as much as an impressive 80 percent.
The remainder of the stroke prevention measures are not dependent on the patient, but rather, on extraneous sources.
It’s been suggested that emergency room doctors identify people at high risk, and then initiate therapy for preventing stroke.
Another possibility is that of using stents to treat narrowed carotid arteries, but how useful this would be remains uncertain.
The carotid artery feeds blood to the brain. A narrowed carotid can choke off blood supply to the brain.
As for the daily aspirin for stroke prevention? This is something you need to discuss with your physician, since medical history would factor heavily into this.