Every 3.5 minutes, someone in the United States dies from a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This dangerous and deadly medical emergency can forever change a person’s life – not to mention the profound impacts it can have on the stroke victim’s loved ones. The American Heart Association considers strokes to be one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.
But this doesn’t have to be the case for you or your loved one. Throughout May, as part of Stroke Awareness Month, experts are taking the time to provide valuable information that can lower people’s risk of having a stroke. Here are four ways to prevent it from happening to you or a family member.
- Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the biggest contributor to a stroke, according to Harvard Health Publishing, and monitoring blood pressure is a crucial measure to help prevent a stroke. Doctors recommend maintaining a blood pressure less than 120/80. Keeping a normal blood pressure can also make a big difference to your vascular health.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. According to the World Stroke Organization, obesity is one of the top ten risk factors for a stroke. Managing your weight can lower the risk of having such conditions as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which in turn also reduces your chance of a stroke.
- Quit smoking. Eliminating smoking is one of the most powerful lifestyle changes that will significantly help reduce the chances of strokes. In fact, The Stroke Association says smokers are about three times more likely to have a stroke than are non-smokers. Certainly quitting can be hard, but you can ask your doctor about ways to help stop smoking. Nicotine pills, patches, and counseling can also help you put an end to your habit.
- Know your family history. Although maintaining a healthy lifestyle can decrease the chances of having a stroke, traits passed down from generation to generation can increase the likelihood of you experiencing this dangerous medical situation. Unfortunately, some individuals have a higher risk of experiencing a stroke because of genetic factors that contribute to such conditions as sickle cell disease and diabetes. CDC researchers urge you to know your family history. Meanwhile, the American Diabetes Association encourages those with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol to be on the lookout for early signs of trouble.
According to the CDC, anyone at any age can get a stroke. While lifestyle changes can help lower the risk of a stroke, identifying the potentially deadly situation could also be a lifesaver. According to the National Stroke Association, the signs of a stroke include:
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Numbness to the face
- Unusual and severe headaches
- Vision loss
- Numbness and tingling
- Unsteady walk
Using these tips to know the signs of a stroke, you can help prevent a debilitating situation that could change you and your family’s lives forever. Additionally, discussing stroke risk with your doctor could be beneficial in preventing these emergencies from happening. You can learn more about making healthy decisions by visiting https://capitalhealth.com/.