We are fortunate to live in a time where medical discoveries are not only plentiful, but allow all of us to learn preventive strategies directly related to that research.  That is why during stroke awareness month we want to share recent information and best practices that could help minimize stroke risk, as well as address changes in lifestyle that may be helpful in decreasing your risk for a stroke.

While we don’t have any vaccine to prevent a stroke, there are considerations we can explore to minimize the risk. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (part of the National Institutes of Health) provides important outreach campaigns to our communities– all focused on education and prevention. These campaigns are designed to help us all become aware of our ability to help minimize risks associated with diseases.

Did you know that stroke and dementia could be related? And that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and dementia?

Recent studies indicate a relationship between high blood pressure, some forms of dementia and stroke. Individuals at risk for stroke may suffer what is known as a “silent stroke” which may go unnoticed. These silent strokes can cause damage to the brain, and eventually impact brain function. NIH Mind Your Risk. In fact, as a result of recent studies identifying benefits from blood pressure control, the medical community is changing the norms for blood pressure intervention.

We can minimize stroke risk by understanding our role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While we wait for new technologies and cutting edge research to provide new treatments, there are steps we can all take, and should take, to minimize our risk of stroke.

These include:

  1. Control your blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked regularly, and if your doctor prescribes medication be sure to take it exactly as prescribed.
  2. Make lifestyle changes part of your everyday routine. This includes regular exercise, healthy eating, maintaining an appropriate weight and losing weight if needed.
  3. Stop smoking. There are many cessation treatments available today to help you stop smoking, ask your doctor or your pharmacist for help.
  4. Check your cholesterol. Ask your doctor to check your numbers. Research indicates that lower cholesterol lowers your risk for a variety of health issues including stroke.
  5. Keep your diabetes under control. Diabetes is a risk factor for not only stroke, but other diseases as well.
  6. Watch your alcohol intake. It appears that an increase in alcohol also raises blood pressure, another risk factor for stroke.

US Department of Health and Human Services/NIH/Mind Your Risks

Start a prevention plan early and stick with it. We all have a responsibility as we age to take good care of ourselves.  

And, remember, we are here to help. We can provide a variety of services for short or long term needs, including home health care. Learn more about our Stroke Care Program.

Resource: US Department of Health and Human Services/NIH/Mind Your Risks