October 25, 2014
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Stroke Risk Reduction

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10 easy ways to cut your stroke risk

10 easy ways to cut your stroke risk

You've probably heard all kinds of helpful advice on how to reduce your risk of a stroke. At this point, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things you need to do.

But don't despair! You can reduce your risk of stroke if you take things one step at a time. Here are 10 easy ways to get started (consult with your doctor to decide on the best way for you to reduce your risk of stroke):*

  1. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your stroke risk. Ask your doctor to write down the things that put you at risk of stroke (stroke risk factors). Develop a simple plan with your doctor for how to reduce your risk.
     
  2. Take a small bite out of healthy eating. This week, buy whole-grain bread instead of white.
     
  3. Make a move to get active if your doctor has recommended it. If you're thinking of getting active, talk to your doctor first. If your doctor gives you the green light for physical activity, try to sneak a little extra activity into your daily routine: take the elevator instead of the stairs or get off the bus one stop early.
     
  4. Know your healthy weight. To reach a healthy weight, you need to know what to aim for. Use the body mass index (BMI) calculator to find your BMI. Write it down, along with your BMI goal (you can discuss a goal with your doctor). Keep it somewhere you can see it, such as on the fridge.
     
  5. Take a look at your alcohol use: For the next couple of weeks, keep track of how many drinks you have each day. For women, it may be time to cut back if you're having more than 2 drinks a day, especially if your weekly total is more than 10 drinks. For men, it may be time to cut back if you're having more than 3 drinks a day, especially if your weekly total is more than 15 drinks.
     
  6. Look through the smokescreen: People who smoke have nearly twice the risk of stroke. Second-hand smoke increases your risk too. If you smoke, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about quitting. If you don't smoke, think about places where you are exposed to second-hand smoke and how to avoid them.
     
  7. Find a happy place: Stress can hike your stroke risk. Write down the number one reason for stress in your life and brainstorm at least one way to deal with it.
     
  8. Give yourself a 5-minute "check-up": Some medical conditions can increase your stroke risk. These may include:
  1. Check for medication concerns: Use the Medication Check-Up tool to see if it's time to talk to your doctor about your medications.
     
  2. Shake your family tree: Find out if any of your close relatives (parents, siblings, or children) had a stroke before age 65. If so, tell your doctor so that he or she may accurately assess your stroke risk.

*Please note that these suggestions are intended to help reduce the risk of a stroke but are not guaranteed to prevent a stroke.


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