October 31, 2014
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Stroke Risk Reduction

 Health Home >> Stroke Risk Reduction >> How to reduce your risk of stroke 

Live a healthy lifestyle

A few simple lifestyle changes can cut your stroke risk*:

Eat healthy (good nutrition) as directed by your doctor

What to aim for:

Each day, try to eat:

  • 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 6-8 servings of grains (with at least half of these from whole grain products)
  • 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products
  • 2-3 servings of lean meat or meat alternatives (such as tofu)

Don't eat too much sodium. Aim for:

  • age under 50: 1500 mg/day
  • age 50-70: 1300 mg/day
  • age over 70: 1200 mg/day

How to make it happen:

  • Buy whole-grain bread instead of white.
  • Add berries to your morning cereal, carrot sticks to lunch, or a salad to dinner.
  • Whenever you would usually drink pop or juice, drink water instead.
  • Use healthy snacks such as precut fruit and veggies and salad in a bag.
  • Cook up a large batch of healthy food on the weekend, then freeze it in meal-sized portions for the week.
  • Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Exercise as directed by your doctor

What to aim for:

Ask your doctor how much activity and what types of exercise are safe for you.

How to make it happen:

Check with your doctor before starting to exercise.

If your doctor gives you approval to exercise, start slowly – even 10 minutes of activity is enough to get started. Then gradually work your way up to longer exercise times:

  • Today, after dinner, put on some comfortable shoes and walk around the neighborhood.
  • Park a bit further from work or shopping.
  • Do more gardening and physical household chores (such as vacuuming).

If you have medical conditions, check with your doctor before starting to exercise.

Reach a healthy weight as directed by your doctor

What to aim for:

or

  • waist size of less than 80 cm (31.5 inches) for women or less than 94 cm (37 inches) for men

How to make it happen:

  • Try eating healthy and exercising (see above) to lose weight safely.

Consult your doctor before making any changes to your physical activity or diet.

Use alcohol in moderation as directed by your doctor

What to aim for:

Limit yourself to no more than 2 drinks a day, to a maximum of 10 drinks per week for women, and no more than 3 drinks a day, to a maximum of 15 drinks per week for men.

(If you have liver disease, check with your doctor to find out your maximum recommended alcohol consumption.)

How to make it happen:

  • Keep track of your drinking for a week to see if you're over the limit. One drink is:
  • 341 mL (12 ounces) beer
  • 142 mL (5 ounces) wine
  • 43 mL (1.5 ounces) spirits

Cut back if you are over the limit. If you are having trouble, talk to your doctor.

Quit smoking as directed by your doctor

What to aim for:

Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke. If you are a non-smoker, do not start smoking.

How to make it happen:

When you're ready to quit, ask your friends and family to help, and speak to your doctor or pharmacist about options to help you quit.

Tame your stress as directed by your doctor

What to aim for:

Understand and control the sources of stress in your life.

How to make it happen:

  • Make a list of things that make you feel stressed.
  • Focus on the things that cause you the most stress, and think of ways to avoid or manage them. Try exercising (helps relieve stress), talking to a friend, taking breaks, using humour, delegating to someone else, or just saying "no."

Consult your doctor for assistance with stress management.

*These lifestyle suggestions may not be appropriate for everyone. Check with your doctor to find out which lifestyle changes you should make to reduce your risk of stroke.


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