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Lifestyle Changes You Can Make Now to Prevent Strokes

Apr 05, 2023
Lifestyle Changes You Can Make Now to Prevent Strokes
When a blood vessel in your brain ruptures or develops a clot, the result is a stroke. A stroke robs your brain cells of oxygen and nutrients, and it can kill you or disable you. But you can take steps to prevent strokes.

Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death. Strokes occur when problems in the blood vessels cut off the flow of oxygen and nutrients that your brain needs to function. The main types of stroke are:

  • Ischemic stroke, caused by a clot
  • Hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a blood vessel rupture
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA, or mini stroke), caused by temporary clot

Strokes are more common as you age. However, about 80% of strokes are preventable.

At Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, experienced providers want you to prevent stroke to avoid long-term disability or early death. We’re here to help you keep your brain — and the heart that feeds it — as healthy as possible. Following are tips on stroke prevention that you can adopt today. 

Stop smoking

Cigarettes don’t just cause lung cancer or other types of cancer. The dehydrating effects of smoke also degrade the quality and strength of your blood vessels. 

If you quit smoking, however, you reduce your risk for stroke. If you’re unsure whether kicking the habit really is making a difference, just look at your skin. Smoking makes your skin — as well as your blood vessels — thin and fragile. Quit smoking, and you grow stronger and more resilient, outside and inside.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, which also increases your risk for stroke. Men shouldn’t have more than two drinks per day. Women shouldn’t have more than one. 

Treat or control underlying medical conditions

Annual checkups and tests help you and your doctor identify problems that could increase your risk for stroke. Work with your doctors to determine whether you have healthy:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose levels

If you’re on medications, be sure you take them as directed. 

Eat real foods

“Whole foods” are real foods: They don’t come in a box or a can. Revamp your diet to eliminate processed foods, junk foods, sugar, and trans fats. Focus on colorful, flavorful:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Fish and seafood
  • Pastured and grass-fed meats and poultry

Limit your intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt. 

Exercise and move regularly

A sedentary lifestyle is strongly associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with walking every day and getting up and moving — even just stretching — every 30-60 minutes. 

Each week, aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. A brisk walk, jogging, dancing, or playing sports can be both fun and good for your health.

Achieve and maintain a stable, healthy weight

Being overweight or obese raises your risk for a stroke. If you adopt a healthy diet that focuses on whole foods and exercise regularly, you should begin to lose weight naturally.

However, if you’re extremely overweight or if you’ve had trouble keeping the weight off, we can help. Medically supervised weight loss helps you achieve your goals by keeping you accountable and giving you support.

Pay attention to early symptoms

The sooner you get medical care after you have a TIA or full stroke, the more likely you can recover and do so faster. Get to the emergency room or call 911 if you experience sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg 
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding 
  • Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache without a known cause

If you want to prevent stroke or you’ve already suffered one and need treatment or rehabilitation, contact one of our offices by phone or book an appointment online today.

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At Advanced Medical Care, care is not just a part of our name — it is in our hearts. Our providers strive to put our patients first and find solutions to meet their needs on every level. If you’re ready to start improving your health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Queens or Brooklyn.