According to the CDC, a person in the United States is the victim of a stroke every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when there is a blockage or a reduction of blood flow in the arteries of the brain. Without this blood flow, critical brain cells begin dying in minutes, which can lead to long-term disability. Strokes can be caused by the bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke), but the most common is a blocked artery (ischemic stroke). It’s important to recognize the symptoms of stroke, because the longer it takes to get the stroke victim professional medical care, the more damage that can occur. Caught quickly, the stroke damage can be addressed with such things as clot-busting drugs, and every second counts.
Of course, prevention is the best remedy.
Here are the best ways to avoid a stroke…
A healthy diet is perhaps the best way to reduce your chances of having a stroke because it helps promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The key is the old fashioned food pyramid, in which you should try to eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains. Try to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce blood pressure. Increase your intake of foods with soluble fiber, like oatmeal, kidney beans, and apples. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Foods that are high in fat should be eaten in moderation to keep your cholesterol from creeping up into the dangerous range. One of the most important things to watch is your salt intake. Salt raises the blood pressure. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting salt intake to less than a teaspoon per day, and unless you’re reading labels, you might be surprised how much salt is in our food, especially processed foods and snacks.
Like a good diet, exercise helps us keep a healthy body weight, which will keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. Exercise can also help your cholesterol levels by elevating your high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, (often called the “good” cholesterol). Assuming you are healthy enough for moderate exercise (ask your doctor), the Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise five times per week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times per week.
Smoking cigarettes narrows your arteries, which raises your blood pressure and greatly increases your chance of a stroke. According to the Stroke Association, cigarette smoking doubles your chance of a stroke. Smoking also messes with your cholesterol levels with the one-two punch of reducing the levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) and increasing levels of ‘“bad cholesterol” (also called LDL). According to the WHO, it can take 5-15 years, but after you quit smoking your chance of stroke can be reduced to that of a non-smoker (and your chance of heart disease is cut in half after just one year of quitting.
No or low use of alcohol
Heavy drinking is associated with higher risk of stroke. According to WebMD, people who average more than two drinks a day have a 34 percent higher risk of stroke. And the risk goes up for even heavier drinkers. Alcohol is high in calories, which can lead to being overweight and that likely means higher blood pressure. However, it is not fully understood why alcohol is causing the increase in likelihood of strokes. One theory is that it contributes to bursting blood vessels, which are responsible for the hemorrhagic variety of stroke. If you are going to drink, do so in moderation, which for a man is 2 or fewer drinks per day, and for non-pregnant women, 1 or fewer per day.
Suffered from Medical Malpractice After a Stroke? Contact Us Today
Strokes are serious medical events that require prompt and accurate treatment. If you suffered a stroke and your physician either did not administer the proper treatment or administered a treatment incorrectly, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can determine whether you have a case. You may be entitled to significant compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
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