A stroke may happen to anyone at any time when the brain cells are deprived of oxygen and the blood flow to a part of the brain is completely inhibited. This is when the brain cells begin to die and in severe cases, the abilities controlled by the concerned part of the brain are completely lost.
The extent of damage differs from person to person. It may be anything from a temporary weakness to permanent paralysis of limbs. Complete recovery is possible in most cases. However, two thirds of the survivors end up with some kind of disability post the attack.Out of many underlying medical conditions that add to your risk of stroke, a few can be controlled.
Here are few ways to reduce risk of stroke.
- Blood pressure contributes largely to the risk of stroke in both men and women.
- Reducing salt intake, eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, taking blood pressure medications as prescribed by physician and exercising regularly helps to control blood pressure.
- The ideal BMI is 25 or less.
- Obesity and other complications increase risk of stroke.
- Maintaining 1500-2000 calorie intake in regular diet is optimal depending on activity level.
- One drink per day may reduce the chances of stroke.
- However, more than two drinks per day increases risk of stroke sharply.
- Red wine contains resveratrol that is considered to protect heart and brain.
- Portions should be maintained as follows: standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.
- Irregular heartbeats resulting in clot formation in the heart is called atrial fibrillation. These clots can sometimes travel to the brain to cause stroke.
- It has been found that atrial fibrillation carries five-fold risk of stroke.
- Symptoms may be shortness of breath and palpitation.
- In case you find any such symptoms occurring, it is advised to contact a physician immediately.
- Diabetes increases risk of stroke by 4 times.
- 2/3rd of the population with diabetes dies due stroke or heart attack.
- Close monitoring of blood sugar and careful insulin use helps reduce risk of complications.
- In addition to diet and exercise, those with diabetes may need metformin (Glucophage, others) or other diabetes drugs.
- Smoking stimulates the process of formation of clots in a number of ways.
- It thickens the blood and increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries.
- Healthy diet, regular exercise and giving up smoking help to reduce risk of stroke significantly.
Cholesterol and atherosclerosis
- High cholesterol builds up plaque that thickens blood reducing blood flow in the arteries and hence accelerates the risk of stroke.
- Along with exercise and healthy diet, taking prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs helps to reduce the risk of stroke.
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