Age and family history are two risk factors for diseases that may lead to stroke, which cannot be changed. There are certain lifestyle risk factors, however, that are completely in your control. The question is: will you take the time and energy to change them?
Change may be easier than you think. Follow these quick tips to lower your lifestyle risk factors for stroke:
1. Gradually modify your diet.
Healthy foods are crucial for a healthy body – and for lowering stroke risk. If your diet can be improved, make gradual, small changes like incorporating more plant-based foods (vegetables, beans, nuts) and reducing your sodium intake. Another tip is to opt for seafood in place of red meats.
2. Come up with a manageable workout routine.
The keyword here is manageable. Don’t expect too much from yourself right off the bat. If you don’t exercise at all, start by incorporating the minimum recommended guidelines for adults from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Try exercise like brisk walking, using hand weights or cycling. Once you’re used to this routine, increase the length of time or number of days per week you’re exercising. Regular exercise has the power to lower your stroke risk as well as risk for other diseases.
3. Throw away the cigarettes - for good.
This lifestyle change may not be the easiest on this list, but it can have a dramatic impact on your disease risk factors. People who smoke double their risk of stroke compared to nonsmokers. Smoking increases clot formation in the blood vessels, plus it thickens the blood and causes plaque buildup. Slashing this habit cuts your stroke risk in half.
4. Cut back on the bubbly.
A glass of wine now and then is fine. Heavy drinking, however, increases stroke risk by raising blood pressure. You don’t have to cut alcohol out of your life completely, but make sure to drink it in moderation – no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Lowering your lifestyle risk factors for stroke is possible, it just takes a little motivation. You can do it. To fully understand your risk of diseases that lead to stroke, and to take a proactive approach to your health, learn more about a preventive health screening from Life Line Screening. Your health is in your hands.