Five risk factors that you control
By SHANNON WILLIAMS
Stroke is a form of cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to the brain. Among the sufferers of stroke, African-American men and women are most at risk. While recent studies show that Blacks have higher death rates for strokes than their white counterparts: help is available.
Below are simple tips that you can implement into your daily lifestyle that will reduce your risk of stroke:
Tip 1: Stop smoking
High blood pressure is one of the precursors of stroke and smoking cigarettes raises one’s blood pressure. Cigarettes reduce an individual’s ability to perform physical activity and increase the blood’s tendency to form clots.
Tip 2: Eat healthier foods
It’s been instilled in us for years, yet too few of us actually follow orders. Doctors recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and they do so for good reason. Studies show that antioxidants in produce help to reduce the risk of stroke.
In addition to eating ample amounts of fruits and veggies, you should also limit the amounts of saturated and trans fat as well as cholesterol. In addition, be sure to cut back on the salt.
Tip 3: Get active
Physical activity is one of the best ways to combat any disease – including stroke. Experts suggest getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. The exercise can be as simple as walking in your neighborhood or working out to a fitness DVD in the privacy of your own home. If 30 consecutive minutes may be a bit too much for you; break your exercise time into 10-minute intervals.
Tip 4: Know your numbers
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the primary risk factor for stroke. High cholesterol also increases the risk of stroke by building fat in the blood and blocking arteries. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are examples of why it’s important to know your numbers. Doctors suggest checking both numbers on a regular basis and tracking your results. If you notice any significant changes, notify your physician immediately.
Tip 5: Maintain your diabetes
Stroke risk doubles when someone has high blood pressure and diabetes. Aiming for a target blood pressure of 120/80 is ideal, but be sure to include a balanced diet and the proper medication. Diabetics are also known to have lower levels of “good” cholesterol, which can lead to clogged arteries. Strive to keep your “bad” cholesterol levels below 100 mg/dl.