Strokes can have serious consequences. They can, indeed, be fatal. Happily, there are a number of ways that you can protect yourself against and even prevent strokes. Arm yourself with information by reading this article. Get to know the symptoms and warning signs so that you’ll be more aware of any potential risks.
What are the main causes of strokes?
When the blood vessels in the brain become clogged, they create the perfect environment for a stroke to occur. Coagulation of the blood or any sort of haemorrhaging can contribute to the condition. Symptoms will vary depending upon the severity of each situation.
Be aware of these symptoms
When someone suffers from a stroke, several areas of the body and its senses – mainly those of memory, movement, speech and behaviour – are adversely affected. These symptoms, along with things such as paralysis on the left side, a warning that something is very wrong. In some instances, they appear slowly. In others, they are visible in as little as days or weeks.
Possible signs of CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident)
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Weakness or subtle facial paralysis that usually affects the left side of the body
- Difficult or halting speech
- Diminished comprehension
- Blurry vision
- Sudden onset headache accompanied by high blood pressure
- Loss of muscle control and/or balance.
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone else, it’s vital that you find help as soon as you can. The sooner that you can be seen by medical professionals, the better your odds of recovering without further consequence.
How to prevent strokes
Regulate your blood pressure
As your blood pressure increases to a level higher than 130/80, so does your risk of suffering a stroke. High blood pressure in itself is difficult to self-diagnose because it doesn’t have many tangible warning signs. This is why you must take responsibility. See your GP and ask for a blood pressure screening to ensure that yours is at a normal level. In the event that it’s not, your doctor will make some important recommendations. Most of them will be directly related to your diet and lifestyle. You may be advised to take moderate physical exercise, eat more healthily and – if you indulge – stop smoking or drinking.
If your GP determines that your blood pressure is dangerously high and is not easily manageable, he or she may prescribe medicine. This will only be done if absolutely necessary.
Take control of your weight
In the prevention of strokes, maintaining a normal weight is essential. If you are overweight – and, especially, if you are obese – it is in your best interest to shed enough pounds so that you are within reach of your ideal weight. Your GP will help you to work out what the number on your scale should be and, in most cases, can provide guidelines and goals to help you achieve it. Being overweight, after all, is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for advise about the best way of reducing your BMI, including which activities and how much physical exercise you can undertake. You should also strive to eat healthily. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals and limit your consumption of sugary, fatty foods.
Eat a healthy diet
A balanced diet means plenty of whole foods. Eliminating as much processed food as possible will truly make all the difference to your mental and physical wellbeing. You might be surprised to know how far nutritious foods go to protect you not only from strokes, but also illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and numerous other diseases.
One of the first rules of healthy diet club is to avoid fried foods and junk food. We’re going to say it again, as it can’t be overemphasised: increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, pulses, seeds and nuts (especially walnuts).
Finally, we’d urge you to remember the pertinent adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.