Stroke is a serious and life-threatening illness that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off, and it is a condition feared by many. As it can be extremely serious, the NHS released its ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ campaign present in order to make the public aware of the symptoms.
It can affect anyone at any age but the elderly have a higher risk of being affected. By the age of 75, one in five women and one in six men can have suffered a stroke. However, scientific reports state that between 75 and 85 per cent of stroke cases could have easily been prevented by leading a better lifestyle. Prevention of stroke should start as early as possible - ideally when you're young - but it is never too late.
There are a number of ways to prevent - or reduce the likelihood - of ever suffering from a stroke:
Have a healthy diet
A diet high in fat and salt can significantly increase the risk of stroke later in life. In order to prevent this, it is important to have a healthy and balanced diet that is low fat and rich in fibre, as recommended by the NHS. Avoid processed foods and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Barchester Healthcare provides healthy meals to all of its residents and it provides an in-depth guide on nutrition for older people to help make this easier.
Staying physically fit on a regular basis is vital for maintaining your health and for preventing certain diseases - not just a stroke. Exercising - alongside having a healthy diet - helps to keep weight - and your BMI - down and keep blood pressure at a healthy level. You need to aim to exercise for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. This is an important thing to consider when looking at care homes. Ones that provide a variety of physical activities for its residents, can help to maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost mental wellbeing.
Smoking significantly increases the risk of stroke - and other illnesses such as lung cancer - so it is better to quit for the benefit of your health and for a long life. Cigarette smoke makes your blood thicker and more likely to clot, meaning that a smoker is more likely to be prone to a blockage, and in turn this triggers a stroke. In addition to this, carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen the blood carries to the brain, and this is another factor in the risk of having a stroke.
According to the NHS, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and trigger irregular heartbeat, both of which can increase the risk of having a stroke. Also, drinking too much lead to weight gain because alcoholic drinks contain a high amount of calories. In order to reduce the risk of stroke, limit the amount to alcohol you drink (no more than 14 units a week as recommended by the NHS.)
Extensive scientific research has found that there is a correlation between poor oral health and the increased risk of suffering with a stroke, so maintaining dental hygiene can be important. Simple steps such as brushing three times a day, flossing twice a day, and avoiding eating too much sweet stuff can all help make a difference.
You are more at risk of stroke if you are obese, as well as other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Being overweight can trigger diabetes, which in turn, can increase your risk of suffering with a stroke, so it is important to maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating healthily.