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Stroke Prevention and Awareness Tips

A senior woman participates in physical rehab after suffering a stroke.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, making this an ideal time to shine a spotlight on stroke risk factors and tips for prevention. Did you know having a stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Each year, over 800,000 people experience a stroke for the first time, or suffer a recurring stroke, and a person dies from stroke every 4 minutes. Contrary to a popular myth, stroke doesn’t just occur in seniors. Stroke can happen at any age, at any time.

What are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

Some risk factors are out of your control, such as your age, family history, race and gender. But there are some factors that you can control, treat and improve. Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes. It’s never too late to start building healthy habits.

Controlled Stroke Risk Factors

  1. High Blood Pressure – also known as hypertension, it is the leading cause of stroke and the most significant risk factor.
  2. Diet – high saturated fats and trans-fat increases cholesterol in your blood, while too much salt intake increases your blood pressure. Both are controlled risk factors for stroke.
  3. Physical inactivity – lack of exercise can also lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol, as mentioned above.
  4. Smoking – damage your blood vessels and lowers oxygen in your body, making it a ripe environment for stroke to occur

The Best Ways to Prevent a Stroke

The leading risk factor of stroke is high blood pressure, so take steps to ensure that your blood pressure is at a manageable level. There are numerous ways to do this, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercise, stress management, and medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

Did you know that diabetes can also cause stroke-related problems? Be sure to check your blood sugar levels on a regular basis. Your healthcare provider may also recommend lifestyle changes to help keep blood sugar levels under control.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting your alcohol intake, as drinking can increase blood pressure. A good rule of thumb to follow is for men, no more than two drinks a day, and women should only have one a day.

The CDC also recommends cutting out ALL smoking from your life. And if you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking limits the amount of oxygen that gets to your body’s tissues, and the brain needs oxygen to function properly.

Stay physically active. In addition to improving physical health, exercise can help keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels low. Even going for a short 10 minute walk can help reduce your stroke risk.

While all of these tips can lower your chance of having a stroke, it can also be helpful to plan ahead just in case. Finding a senior rehabilitation community can lower your recovery time and minimize the ongoing effects of a stroke should you have one in the future.

Find Help After Stroke at Peabody Retirement Community

If someone you care about has suffered a stroke, we offer comprehensive rehabilitation for seniors
on both an inpatient and outpatient basis with a focus on restoring health and healing. Additionally, our Wellness Transition Suites provide a welcome solution when patients aren’t ready to return home from the hospital, don’t qualify for an inpatient post-acute care stay.

Contact us today to get more information about our rehabilitation services, or to learn more about our senior living options.

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