Most of us know that there are many risks associated with stroke, but many people don’t understand that some stroke risks can be managed. Here are such risks. Read on to learn more.
Managing Your Blood Pressure
Handling your blood pressure is one of the most important things you can do for your health. High blood pressure doubles your risk for stroke and triples your risk for dementia. It’s also a major factor in heart disease and kidney disease. Though lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and managing stress can help keep your blood pressure under control. If you’re already managing your high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage it. Taking medication as prescribed and monitoring your blood pressure regularly can help you keep it under control and reduce your risk of stroke.
Smoking is one of the many leading causes of stroke and a risk factor you can control. If you smoke, quitting is the safest way to reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Smoking damages blood vessels and raises your heart rate and blood pressure. These effects increase your risk of having a stroke.
When you smoke, the chemicals you inhale damage the lining of your blood vessels. This makes your blood vessels narrower and reduces blood flow to your brain.
The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This makes your heart work harder to supply enough oxygen to your brain.
Smoking also increases the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol makes your arteries narrow when it sticks to the walls of your arteries, which reduces blood flow to your brain, increasing your risk of stroke.
In addition, smoking causes atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis narrows and blocks arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain and increasing the risk of stroke.
Reducing Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for stroke. According to the American Heart Association, drinking more than two alcoholic beverages daily increases your stroke risk by over 50 percent. And the more you drink alcohol, the more the risk. Alcohol use can also interact with other stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, to further increase your risk.
If you drink alcohol heavily, it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. Reducing alcohol consumption or quitting altogether can be difficult, but protecting your health is worth it.
This is a type of fat found in your blood. Too much cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of stroke. You can assist manage your cholesterol levels by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. It would be best if you also avoid smoking, which further increases your stroke risk. If you have high cholesterol, you may be prescribed medication to help lower your levels. Simple lifestyle changes and taking medicines as prescribed can help reduce your risk of stroke.
According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. But you can make several lifestyle changes to help manage your risk.