We have talked about that heart attack is caused by the condition when oxygen-rich blood to a part of the heart is blocked.
If the same thing happens in the brain, then it can lead to a stroke. Also like in a heart attack, the portion of the brain can die fast without oxygen.
A person with a stroke can have several signs like paralysis, sudden weakness, trouble speaking and understanding speech and trouble seeing.
Stroke is a serious health condition, and you need to call 911 immediately. It is much better to call an ambulance than driving to the hospital yourself or letting other people drive you. Remember in a stroke, every minute counts.
Stroke has a lot of risk factors, many of which are chronic poor health conditions. These include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.
Some unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are linked to higher stroke risk. Such behaviors include smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, lack of physical activity, stress and depression, unhealthy diet, unhealthy blood cholesterol levels.
The good news is that stroke is preventable, and what you need to do is to have a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Recently, researchers from New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center give some tips to prevent stroke. According to them, you can do four things to protect yourself.
Reducing salt intake. This helps you lower the risk of high blood pressure, which is a big risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
The healthy blood pressure level is 120/80 or below. You can flavor your food with various spices that are healthier than salt.
Heart-healthy dieting. This can help you maintain a good balance between your good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).
Healthy blood cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Cholesterol levels should remain at 200 mg/dl or below.
Quit smoking. Everyone knows smoking is harmful to the health, but few can successfully quit. Smoking is bad not only for the lungs but also for the brain and the heart.
Smokers can have twice the risk of stroke because their blood vessels are damaged, their blood pressure is high, and their clogging of arteries is sped up.
Exercising regularly. Exercise is the best medicine for many chronic diseases. This is especially true if you are overweight or obese.
Obesity can increase the risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and all these factors can raise your stroke risk.
Regular exercise, i.e. 30 minutes every day or 150 minutes every week, can help reduce stroke risk and can be a good way to lose those extra pounds and substantially improve your health.
Everyone can do the above four things to reduce their stroke risk.
But if you are 55 years of age or older, African-Americans or Hispanics, or have a family history of stroke, you have a higher stroke risk and a healthy lifestyle may not be enough.
You may need to talk with your doctor about how to prevent the disease.
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