Stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term disability, and many strokes could be prevented with lifestyle changes. There are several changes you can make now to either prevent a stroke or possibly reduce the severity of stroke.
Address The "Big 3"
The "Big 3" are hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. These chronic diseases are important because they are frequently the underlying culprit of vascular disease and sudden vascular events like heart attack and stroke. Having regular physicals and blood work will make it easier to identify the onset of these problems when it is easier to control or reverse them. Once the problem is identified, it is imperative to listen to your doctor's treatment advice, such as making lifestyle changes and taking prescribed medications. Fortunately, some chronic diseases can be reversed with significant lifestyle changes, and you may not need to take medication forever.
Follow A Heart-Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet not only reduces your risk of a heart attack but also reduces your stroke risk. The ideal diet is low in processed foods, such as convenience foods and food at fast-food restaurants. Incorporating more fiber through fresh vegetables and whole grains has protective benefits to the vascular system. You should also be mindful of the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet, especially if you already have high cholesterol or other chronic diseases. This does not mean you need to eliminate red meat from your diet, but you should limit these sources of protein to once per week. Rely more on fatty fish and lean poultry for the bulk of your protein intake. Aim to have at least one meat-free day and explore plant-based protein options. Fresh fruit can be a healthy option, but if you have diabetes, you will need to limit your intake of both fruit and starchy vegetables.
Do More Cardio
When you are focused more on overall health, specifically vascular health, cardio is one of the best forms of exercise. Not only can cardio help reduce excess body fat, but it forces your heart and lungs to become stronger. Walking or swimming is frequently recommended in the beginning since they are the most beginner-friendly and have less impact on the joints. As you gain endurance, you can add additional exercises or find ways to increase the intensity of walking or swimming. Adding a weighted vest can make the same exercise feel more challenging and force you to work harder. For people who are trying to lose weight, a weighted vest also helps you burn more calories during the same workout.
Besides genetics, your lifestyle is one of the biggest influences on your risk of stroke. Controlling chronic diseases and engaging in a lifestyle that promotes good vascular health can help put the odds in your favor. For more information, seek out a stroke doctor like one at Interventional Neuroassociates.