How to reduce the risk of having a stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency that happens when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted. Without blood, your brain cells start to die. This can cause serious symptoms, lasting disability, and even death. There’s more than one kind of stroke. (Healthline)

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the age-adjusted mortality rate for 2017 was 37.6 in every 100,000 stroke diagnoses. Doctors have made a great deal of progress in managing strokes, meaning that this mortality rate is 13.6% lower than it was in 2007.

Eating the Mediterranean or DASH-style diets, regularly engaging in physical activity, and keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of a first-time stroke, according to an updated AHA/ASA guideline published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

The updated guidelines recommend these tips to lower the risk of stroke:

  • Eat a Mediterranean or DASH-style diet, supplement with nuts.
  • Monitor high blood pressure at home with a cuff device
  • Keep pre-hypertension from becoming high blood pressure by making lifestyle changes such as getting more physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and managing your weight
  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet; sodium is found mostly in salt
  • Visit your health care provider annually for blood pressure evaluation
  • If your medication to lower blood pressure doesn’t work or has bad side effects, talk to your health care provider about finding a combination of drugs that work for you
  • don’t smoke. Smoking and taking oral birth control pills can significantly increase your stroke risk. If you are a woman who experiences migraines with aura, smoking raises your risk of stroke even more than in the general population.