Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood circulation to the brain fails, primarily due to a blood clot or narrowing of the artery leading to the brain. This deprives the brain of much-needed oxygen and nutrients. As scary as this can sound, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of suffering a stroke.
It’s important to control your blood pressure by having it checked annually and treated if it is high.
- If you smoke — stop. Smoking is linked to an increased risk of stroke.
- Exercise can help with prevention, improving circulation and lowering cholesterol when done regularly.
- For seniors living with diabetes, it is important to manage the disease as uncontrolled diabetes can damage the blood vessels going to the brain.
- Practice good nutrition. Avoid foods high in fats, saturated fatty acids, and cholesterol. Drink alcohol in moderation, meaning no more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men and no more than one per day for women.
These steps can all help with stroke prevention and also contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle.
Since stroke treatment is more effective when given quickly, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of stroke. Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body; sudden confusion or difficulty speaking; sudden vision difficulty; dizziness or loss of vision; and a sudden, severe headache are all stroke symptoms.
Be the captain of your own health care ship. Hebrew SeniorLife offers programs with the Healthy Living Center of Excellence in partnership with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. that focus on prevention care.
For more information about evidence-based approaches to managing your health care, contact Amanda Aprea (671-363-8702). If you have concerns about stroke prevention or other medical issues, contact your medical professional.