The good news is that, according to the National Stroke Association, 80% of strokes are preventable. Understand YOUR risk factors and know the signs of stroke.
Every year nearly 800,000 people have a stroke. Here’s what can increase your risk for stroke:
- Family history of stroke
- A history of TIA’s (Trans Ischemic Attacks)
- Medical conditions such as Afib or fibromuscular dysplasia
- Age – after age 55 stroke risk doubles every decade
- Race – African Americans, Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islands have a greater risk
Annually, nearly 55,000 more women than men have strokes.
- Characteristics that are specific to women, such as taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, can increase stroke risk.
- Women who have high blood pressure before or during pregnancy have a greater risk of stroke.
- Women & stroke
Visit your healthcare provider. Ask about the 4 H’s!
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
Discuss these and any other health concerns with your health care provider and make a plan. That plan may or may not include medications.
What you can do at home to help lower your risk of stroke.
- Stop smoking
- Get to your healthy weight
- Be active
- Limit alcohol
- Make healthy food choices
What I do to reduce the risk of stroke #2**
Since my stroke in November of 2016 I follow a primarily plant-based diet. If you think this is a restrictive way to eat, think again. I don’t feel like I’m “missing” out on anything. Some plant based alternatives I actually prefer to the meat version. Plus, I feel better in my day to day life and have more energy.
I am active. I’m one of those people that actually enjoys exercise and being active. I like going to my workouts. I like feeling strong and having the energy to get out and hike and bike. I am also loving doing yoga. It makes me feel energetic and peaceful, a winning combination in my mind.
I’ve added in mindfulness/meditation to the mix and I like that I am fully present in whatever I am doing. This is an on-going practice. When I feel my brain starting to spin out onto my to-do list or what I might be going to do later I recognize it and come back and focus on what I am doing.
I have limited my alcohol consumption (that kind of happened naturally during my recovery as did eating healthier). I DO still need to lose a couple of pounds to be at a little bit healthier weight for me.
These are things that are a constant work in progress. I’m not perfect every day but I do try to be consistent. I know my cholesterol is excellent and my other blood work is good. I’m active and I work on eating for fuel for my body not for my emotions or entertainment (that one is a bit harder to crack).
The webernet is full of reliable sources to learn more about stroke and reducing your risks. Your health care provider is a great resource too!
- Thanks to the National Stroke Association (Stroke.org) for providing informative materials to share during Stroke Awareness Month.
- American Stroke Association
- Stroke Awareness
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke
**My stroke was considered a cyrptogenic stroke. The likely culprit was the PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) or “hole in my heart”. Nearly a quarter of us have this and it usually goes completely unnoticed. While the PFO did not cause my stroke, it apparently allowed a clot to get through and travel to my brain. It is recommended if you do have a PFO and have had a stroke to get this hole closed. Stay tuned for that.