May is American Stroke Awareness Month, and according to the Stroke Center, nearly 800,000 adults in the U.S. suffer from this disorder every year. A stroke can be potentially lethal, but can also lead to debilitating issues related to mobility and speech.
Stokes are caused by blockages in the brain, and often occur as the result of years of bad diet or poor exercise. Many of the same life style choices that can contribute to heart disease also put individuals at risk for having a stroke. For older adults, these problems are only exacerbated.
This Stroke Awareness Month, consider making healthy changes in your own life that could aid in stroke prevention.
1. Identify Risk Factors
The National Stroke Association stated that one of the most important steps seniors can take in minimizing the risk of stroke is to identify hazards that maybe contributing to an elevated probability of suffering a dangerous brain clot. There are a number of factors that can make certain individuals more susceptible to the threat of a stroke. These include genetic or environmental variables. Some chronic conditions, like for example, an arrhythmia or other heart disorder may elevate the risk of suffering a stroke.
Many lifestyle factors are also major players when it comes to assessing the possibility of a stroke. Once you have accounted for predisposition related to genetics and the like, consider making a few positive changes in your day to day life.
2. Lose Weight
Excess weight can lead to issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes, both of which may raise your stroke risk, according to the Harvard Medical School. In fact, shedding just 10 pounds can have a major impact in this area. HMS found that limiting your diet to between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day and maintaining a body mass index at or around 25 are both easy benchmarks to follow and will promote weight loss.
3. Get Plenty Of Exercise
Regular physical activity is important for seniors because it can lower blood pressure, promotes good health overall and can also be an important way to minimize the risk of suffering from a stroke. This can include walking or swimming, as well as an organized sport like tennis.
The most important thing is to exercise as close to regularly as possible. HMS reported that thirty minutes a day for at least 5 days a week is your best bet if you are really serious about lowering the threat of stroke. Consistent exercise is also important in the effort to lose weight.
4. Have A Glass Of Red Wine
Drinking in excess can be extremely consequential for your health, and reducing the amount of alcohol you consume overall is an important part of reducing stroke risk. Any more than one drink per day can elevate this issue greatly.
When it comes to selecting what to enjoy for that nightly drink, red wine is the best choice, according to the Mayo Clinic. Not only does the drink contain antioxidants and promote "good" cholesterol, but it also contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and brain.
5. Quit Smoking
Cigarettes and cigars create a number of health risks, even when consumed in small amounts or irregularly. Although quitting can be very difficult, it is critical for seniors, regardless of the risks associated with stroke. Smoking will also make it harder to exercise regularly.
Talking with a doctor, family member or caregiver is important for getting started in breaking the habit. This can be a long process, and the support and guidance of others is a critical resource to that end.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living