Unfortunately, many of us engage in high risk behaviors that can lead to a stroke. Lower your risk of stroke by choosing not to engage in these behaviors or by controlling medical conditions that increase the risk of stroke. Have a checkup. Change your eating habits for the better. You could save a life!
1. High blood pressure — High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. To prevent high blood pressure, have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure, take your medication daily. Eat a low fat, low cholesterol, low salt diet, and exercise regularly.
2. Cigarette smoking —Studies confirm that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damage the cardiovascular system. If you smoke, stop. There are many “stop smoking” programs available.
3. Diabetes mellitus — Having diabetes is a risk factor for stroke. Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and are overweight. This increases their risk even more. Make every effort to keep diabetes under control.
4. Artery disease —Arteries narrowed by fatty deposits from plaque buildup on artery walls (atherosclerosis) may become blocked by a blood clot or disconnected bits of plaque. This condition is related to high cholesterol and increases the chance of clot type stroke.
5. Atrial fibrillation —In fibrillation, the heart’s upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively, allowing blood to pool and clot. If a clot breaks loose and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke has occurred.
6. Heart disease — An enlarged heart (Dilated cardiomyopathy), heart valve disease, and some types of congenital heart defects also raise the risk of stroke.
7. High blood cholesterol —High bad (LDL) cholesterol and low good (HDL) cholesterol add to the risk of stroke, especially in men.
8. Heavy drinking—Consuming more than 5 drinks per day or binge drinking increases the risk of stroke.
9. Poor diet — Diets high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels. Diets high in salt (sodium) can increase blood pressure by retaining extra water in the circulatory system. Diets with excess calories can contribute to obesity.
10. Physical inactivity and obesity — Lack of exercise and being overweight both increase the risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So take the stairs and/or ride an exercise bike.