In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, Cardiac Monitoring Service has put together a list of tips to reduce your risk of stroke. As the nation’s leading provider of holter monitors and cardiac monitoring equipment, we feel a responsibility to bring awareness to issues relating to the heart, and cardiovascular health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says strokes are the main cause of long-term disability in America. The majority of strokes occur when blood flow is cut off from a part of the brain. Typically, a blood clot is the cause of the blockage. This type of stroke is called ischemic. The other form of a stroke involves bleeding in the brain and accounts for about ten percent of all strokes. These types of strokes are called hemorrhagic. Strokes can be devastating and deadly, but there are ways to help reduce the chance of a stroke. Experts claim that eighty percent of strokes are preventable.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the number one cause of strokes. If it is not well managed, high blood pressure can raise the risk of a stroke. The reason it can cause a stroke is that it weakens arteries and makes them more likely to burst, which could lead to a hemorrhagic stroke. High blood pressure can also cause the walls of the arteries to harden. When this happens, fats and cholesterol build up in the arteries as well as plaque, which could break free and block the blood supply to the brain. Prescribed medications, regular blood pressure monitoring, avoiding high-cholesterol foods, reducing the intake of salt and eating the proper foods are all excellent ways to help lower blood pressure. Ideally, blood pressure readings should be below 135/85. In some cases, a slightly higher reading of 140/90 is acceptable.
Being overweight is linked to high blood pressure as well as to diabetes, which raises the risk of a stroke. Those who are obese should consider losing at least ten pounds to help reduce the risk of having a stroke. Obese people are advised to work closely with their doctors to develop an ideal weight loss plan. Generally, it is best not to intake more than 1500 to 2000 calories per day. In addition, thirty minutes of regular exercise for at least five times a week helps increase weight loss. Biking, walking and playing tennis or golf are great ways to have fun while shedding those unhealthy pounds and may help prevent a stroke.
Smoking can cause clots to form by thickening the blood and by increasing plaque buildup in the arteries. Smoking doubles the risk of a stroke. Nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, can cause blood pressure to rise. In addition, carbon monoxide, which is found in smoke, is known to lower the levels of oxygen in the blood. Tobacco can also raise the levels of fat in the blood and can lower the levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol. Smoking may also cause blood vessels to narrow and become weakened, which can increase the risk of a stroke.
Follow A Healthy Diet
Eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will help reduce the chance of developing a stroke. Also, eating lean meats, whole grains, poultry, and high-fiber foods are recommended. Health experts suggest that trans and saturated fats be avoided due to the fact that they can clog arteries, which can lead to a stroke. It is also best to cut down on salt intake and to stop eating processed foods. Processed foods are loaded with salt and can raise blood pressure as well as the levels of trans fats.
Lowering blood pressure, losing weight, avoiding tobacco and following a healthy diet are all excellent ways to prevent having a stroke.
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