Before stroke strikes, it usually does give some indications before its arrival, which are ignored. Women are more at risk, usually after they cross their 55th birthday though men are not conveniently left out. Again, accessing the family history i.e. any relative who has had a stroke could you more susceptible to it. And if you have already had a stroke, investigating the factors that caused it in the first place and preventing it again by controlling the causes is the way to deal with it. Knowledge is Power. When you realize that a particular factor in your case is the miscreant, try to nip it in the bud.
Here are the warning signs that you must keep a tab on and rectify to prevent stroke:
1. Lower your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure- the largest stroke risk contributor- destroys blood vessels all over the body. Thus, clots are developed. Monitor your BP regularly and control it when it heightens. Your ideal BP should be 120/80. For this, reduce salt intake, avoid ice-creams and burger e that add cholesterol. Getting fish on your platter thrice a week and daily servings of whole grains and pulses, fruits and vegetables would act towards controlling your BP. If you still see spikes of BP, take medicines to lower BP as prescribed by your doctor.
2. Shed Weight
Obesity is one of the major factors that invites diabetes and high BP. Losing even 10 pounds can make your body better prepared to keep stroke at bay. Your BMI should be within 25. To achieve this, shun trans and saturated fat. Depending on your current BMI and activity levels, chalk out a daily calorie intake plan. Most importantly, stick to it. Increase your activities that will help you burn more calories and help you inch towards your ideal weight, faster.
3. Drink in Moderation
A drink a day can keep the stroke away. Definition of moderate alcohol use is two drinks a day for men and one for women. Drinking any further can significantly increase your chances of having a stroke. And if you are a teetotaler, there is no need to start drinking. Prefer red wine over other drinks as it has resveratrol- a heart and brain protector.
4. Baby Aspirin Intake
Taking aspirin daily prevents the formation of blood clots. Senior folks, especially women above 65, are at a significant risk of developing clots and hence risk stroke. Before starting aspirin, consult your doctor to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your body type. If you are suffering from a bleeding disorder, you may either be asked to alter the dose or avoid it altogether.
5. Treat Atrial Fibrillation
If you observe symptoms like heart palpitations and breath shortness, immediately see your doctor. These are signs of atrial fibrillation- irregular heartbeats due to which clots are formed in the heart. These clots could then navigate right till the brain creating a stroke. To treat atrial fibrillation, your doctor will prescribe blood thinners like aspirin (high dose) or warfarin to bring down your stroke risk.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoking accentuates clot formation in a number of ways. The nicotine damages the cardiovascular system and carbon monoxide thickens blood. Thus, plaque formation in arteries is on the rise. Smokers have no option but to kick the butt to stay away from the stroke. A significant improvement in stroke prevention is observed after two years of quitting.
Finally, never question your symptoms assuming that they could be hypothetical. Learn to listen to your bodies and trust your instincts. And if you see anything wrong, get medical help right away.