So many things in life are outside of your control, and that goes double when it involves your health. For example, anyone can experience a stroke, but your chances are much higher as you age or when you have a close family member with the condition.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain gets reduced or interrupted. Without oxygen and nutrients, brain cells start to die within minutes, leading to temporary or permanent disabilities and even death.
You may not be able to turn back the hands of time or change your family history, but you can take steps to protect yourself from a stroke. Dr. Omar Ahmed is a leading neurologist at Apex Neurology, Northern Medical Care PC in Forest Hills, New York, who recommends these tips for lowering your stroke risk.
Mind your blood pressure
Have you checked your blood pressure lately? There’s a reason why high blood pressure is known as the silent killer: Few people know it’s a problem until serious issues arise, like a stroke.
You should strive to maintain a blood pressure of less than 120/80. Work with your doctor to bring your numbers within a healthy range by improving your diet, getting plenty of exercise, and not smoking. Medications can also help, if necessary.
Watch your weight
Obesity has direct links to a wide range of health complications, including an increased risk of stroke. However, losing as little as 10 pounds can significantly reduce these risks.
If you’re overweight or obese, work with your doctor to create a personal weight loss strategy. This could include dietary changes, increased exercise, or even medically supervised weight loss programs.
Move your body
Exercise comes with numerous benefits for your physical, mental, and emotional health. But did you know it’s also highly effective at reducing your chances of stroke?
Dr. Ahmed recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. This may seem tricky, but you can break your activities into 10- to 15-minute increments a few times a day and still get the benefit of reducing your stroke risk.
If you’re new to exercise, talk to your doctor about the best ways to get started based on your overall health and fitness level.
If you need another reason to ditch your habit, do it to avoid a stroke. Smoking puts you at risk of clot formation in two different ways. First, it thickens your blood. But it also increases plaque buildup in your arteries. Because of this, quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.
Drink in moderation
Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up alcohol completely. In fact, studies show that one drink per day can even lower your risk of stroke. However, those benefits change significantly if you drink more.
Play it safe and stick to one alcoholic drink or less per day. Opt for red wine, which contains resveratrol, a plant compound that may protect the heart and brain. Also, watch your portion size — one drink equals 5 ounces for wine, 12 ounces for beer, or 1.5 ounces for hard liquor.
Treat underlying conditions
High blood pressure isn’t the only disease that significantly increases your chance of stroke. Other issues that put you at risk include:
- COVID-19 infection
- High cholesterol
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Cardiovascular disease, including irregular heart rhythms
To protect yourself from stroke, work closely with your doctor to keep these conditions under control and prevent blood clots from forming.
Are you concerned about your stroke risk? Schedule a consultation at Apex Neurology, Northern Medical Care PC by calling 347-201-4665 today or clicking on “Book online.”