Tips to Avoid a Stroke – Part 2

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Suffering a stroke is something I wish upon no one. Today, I’d like to talk about some tips and things that we can do to avoid suffering a stroke.

In part one of this series, I shared that my father had experienced a stroke at the age of 58. That was absolutely devastating to our family. We never want to hear that anyone has suffered from a stroke or any significant event of that nature, but when it happens so close to home, it makes you look at things a little differently. It can inspire one to reevaluate some of their own choices, and hopefully improve the odds of not experiencing something of this nature themselves.

We discussed in part one some things that we can do to prevent a stroke, and now I’d like to expand a bit on that information. We talked about lowering our blood pressure, treating AFib and diabetes.

Another thing that we can look into is a tough one. One that’s a daily struggle for me and for many of us. The dreaded effort of losing weight. Obesity, as well as the complications linked to it, including high blood pressure and diabetes, raises your odds of having a stroke. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can have a real impact on your stroke risk.

So ideally, the body mass index or BMI is 25 or less, but that may not be realistic for you. It’s best to get educated input regarding losing weight. Work with your doctor to create a personal weight loss strategy, designed just for you, your body type and your metabolism.

Some things to keep in mind and to focus on are trying to eat no more than 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day. Now, of course, this is going to depend on your activity level and your current BMI.

Increase the amount of exercise you do with activities like walking, golfing, or playing tennis, and by making activity part of every single day. And while we’re talking about exercise, that movement is very helpful in your quest to avoid a stroke. While exercise helps to lose weight, we also discussed in part one the fact that exercise contributes to lowering your blood pressure. It also literally stands on its very own as an independent stroke reducer. We should all try to exercise at a moderate intensity at least five days a week. Some of the things that you might want to try are, take a walk around your neighborhood every morning after breakfast. Maybe get some friends together and start a fitness club with them. A friend of mine who spends the winter in Florida has a great group of friends that get together every single morning and they walk. It’s a great opportunity to socialize and also to get some fitness in at the same time. A good way to gauge whether what you’re doing is effective or not, when you exercise, try to reach the level at which you’re breathing hard, but you can still talk. Next time you need to go up one floor in an office building, take the stairs instead of the elevator if you can. And don’t worry if you don’t have a ton of time, if you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up. Do 10 to 15 minute sessions a few times each day.

Finally, another thing to consider is if you enjoy a cocktail, do it in moderation. Believe it or not, having a little alcohol may decrease your risk of stroke. Studies actually show that if you have one drink per day, your risk just may be lower. However, once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up significantly. That’s where balance comes in. Bottom line is that you should either not drink alcohol at all, or do it in moderation and keep it to one glass a day. So, what do we need to remember? As mentioned, have no more than one glass of alcohol a day. You might want to consider having red wine as your first choice. It contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and the brain. Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a five ounce glass of wine, 12 ounce glass of beer, or 1.5 ounce glass of hard liquor. Again, it comes down to what many say, everything in moderation.

Thank you for hanging in there with me. Here’s to your health and the health of your loved ones. If you have any questions, please give us a call at Seniors Helping Seniors at the 248-969-4000. Thanks and take care!

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