STROKES - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
A stroke was once viewed as a single damaging attack. However newer research shows it develops over years. Risk factors or conditions that may lead to stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, heart disease, and diabetes – and the risk increases with age. Below is information on strokes that you should know.
A blood clot usually causes a stroke. The clot stops the flow of blood to an area of the brain. Susequently, there is a sudden partial loss of brain function. Without oxygen and vital nutrients, the affected brain cells are either damaged or die within a few minutes.
So how can you reduce your risk?
- Control your blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked often, and, if it is high, follow your doctor's advice on how to lower it.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smoking is linked to increased risk for stroke.
- Exercise regularly. Researchers believe exercise may make the heart stronger and improve circulation, while helping to control weight. Being overweight increases the chance of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and adult-onset (type II) diabetes. Physical activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and even gardening lower the risk of both stroke and heart disease.
- Watch what you eat. Opt for foods low in fats, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol and make sure you get a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Control diabetes. Untreated diabetes can damage the blood vessels throughout the body and lead to atherosclerosis.
- Report warning signs or symptoms to your doctor promptly. Look out for a sudden, unexplained tingling and/or numbness on one side of the body, a sudden severe headache, blurred vision, difficulty talking, stumbling and/or sudden clumsiness. Sometimes a mini-stroke, lasting only a few moments - called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) - comes before a stroke.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have conditions that you're currently being treated for. But remember there are always steps you can take to be a little healthier.
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