Following on from last weeks post regarding the major risk factors of stroke, we will now go through and have a look at how we can reduce some of those controllable risk factors, with most of them being related to our lifestyle.
The influence of lifestyle on stroke risk –
As discussed last week, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are two big risk factors when it comes to stroke. There are controllable lifestyle factors which directly influence our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If we can control the factors that influence our blood pressure and cholesterol, we should be able to reduce our overall stroke risk.
So what are they?
Salt – reducing our salt intake is important. One suggestion we give patients is telling them to start off by not adding any extra salt to their meals and cooking with minimal salt. What about the taste of my food i hear you all ask. Well your tastebuds will actually adjust to a lower level of salt in your foods after a little while so persistence is key.
Regular exercise – Regular exercise is defined as 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. If you are already doing this amount of exercise, GREAT! If your blood pressure and cholesterol is still high though, it may mean your body needs a little more exercise. You may want to try to either increase the intensity (instead of walking, maybe do a light jog) or increase the amount of time you exercise from say 30 minutes to 40 minutes each time.
Smoking and Alcohol – Its best to totally cut these two out, especially smoking. It’s obviously easier said than done for some, so what we suggest is to reduce the consumption of alcohol and the amount of cigarettes smoked slowly. There are even prescription medications that can be prescribed by your doctor to help cut these out as well as over the counter therapies available in your local pharmacy to help reduce how much you smoke.
Maintaining a healthy weight – some of the factors discussed earlier will help with this but it is also important to eat a well balanced and healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables that has minimal processed foods and unhealthy fats, such as saturated fats.
Controlling these factors will help with reducing your overall stroke risk, sometimes its not enough and that is why regular checkups with your local doctor and pharmacist is important to keep an eye on things. Your local doctor will also be able to prescribe appropriate medication to help control your blood pressure and/or cholesterol if the lifestyle factors are not helping enough. All Blooms The Chemist are able to check your blood pressure and total cholesterol levels as well as have a one on one discussion with you about your overall stroke risk.
For more information visit The Stroke foundation or have a chat to your local doctor or pharmacist today.