How to reduce the risk of stroke
Stroke occurs earlier, between the ages of 40 and 50, and experts believe the risk of this disease can be significantly reduced.
According to experts, the increase has been mainly influenced by obesity, an increasingly present sedentary lifestyle, little physical activity and long unregulated chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes.
According to statistics, more than 15 million people worldwide experience a heart attack each year, about five million die, and the same number remain permanently disabled. In Serbia, one person experiences every 15 minutes, and every hour one dies from the consequences of this disease.
Fortunately, stroke can be prevented or at least the risk can be significantly reduced.
1. It’s not too late to quit smoking
Smoking negatively affects the elasticity of blood vessels, they become stiff, and at the same time, this bad habit increases the risk of blood clots and affects the development of hypertension, which is the most important risk factor for ‘stroke. The damage caused in this way, however, can be repaired, even after decades of “nicotine” experience. Several studies have shown that after smoking cessation, the risk decreases and returns to the level of non-smokers in about five to 10 years. Even people who break this bad habit in their sixties or seventies can reduce the problem with blood vessels.
2. Pay attention to caloric intake
Physical activity is the key to stroke prevention because it affects the reduction of blood pressure and weight control. The official advice is that you should exercise for about 30 minutes, five times a week. You should not be disappointed if your calorie intake is initially lower than expected. For example, a half hour of running can help you consume only about 50 calories, but the overall effect is much more significant, that is, resetting your metabolism, you should start consuming significantly more calories throughout the day.
3. Don’t give up the exercise
If you plan to walk fast for thirty minutes every day, and due to urgent obligations you can’t dedicate yourself to this activity for a few days, don’t give up on your plans in general. A few days off does not diminish the benefit that has been made so far.
4. Limit salt intake
When you reduce your salt intake, the effect of the second risk factor for stroke will decrease as well. Learn how to flavor dishes with herbs, spices or black pepper. Keep in mind that bread is the largest source of salt in the diet, and therefore, experts advise not to buy it, but to knead it at home. Only then can you control how much salt is in each pan.
5. Reduce portions and don’t skip breakfast
Studies have shown that obesity increases the risk of stroke due to the higher possibility of blood clots by 64 percent. Avoiding fatty foods, consuming more fiber, and five servings of fruits and vegetables significantly reduce this risk. Breakfast will make you feel better, healthier and not stop starving you with snacks during the day. Add a portion of cereal or porridge with fruit, which will help you get to the five “green” meals you need most easily. If you want to lose weight, it’s enough to reduce the regular portion by 20 percent and be consistent.
6. Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol can significantly disrupt blood pressure, which is also one of the risk factors for stroke. To reduce it, your daily alcohol intake should be no more than two drinks for men and a maximum of one for women. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before you start drinking, so as not to quench your thirst with alcohol.
7. Check your blood pressure
Women check their blood pressure more often, because taking contraceptive pills, pregnancy or hormone replacement during menopause can influence this vital parameter. Men, however, generally do not feel discomfort until the age of 60 due to pressure changes, especially since high values often do not give specific symptoms. To detect hypertension over time, it is best to check your blood pressure every few weeks, at the doctor or at home.
8. Stress and depression
Although the link between stress, depression, and stroke has not been fully defined, it has been observed that these conditions may be markers for the detection of the risk of brain damage. Depressed people were found to be twice as likely to have a heart attack. See a doctor immediately if you have other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation.
A stroke should be suspected if it is found:
* weakness of the motor functions or numbness of the middle of the face or body,
* sudden onset of dizziness, inability to walk and stand,
* urges vomiting or vomiting that worsens with a change in the position of the head and body or after physical exertion,
* sudden headaches, which usually start in the back of the head,
* weakness of certain parts of the body,
* altered state of consciousness,
* long-term hiccups (more common in women)
* difficulty pronouncing certain words, inability to speak or not understanding the other’s speech,
* visual disturbance, appearance of double images, complete loss of vision in one or both eyes, restriction of the visual field
* elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
* high pressure
* reduced physical activity
* excessive alcohol intake
* diseases of the heart and blood vessels