Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. And every 3.5 minutes, someone dies of stroke. Here are five ways to lower your risk of stroke and boost your overall health.
Know Your Risks
The stroke risk is higher for people ages 65 or older and for those who are genetically predisposed or with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Speak with your doctor about your numbers, what goals to meet, and what medication options are right for you.
Get off the Couch
Exercise is the best medicine, especially for those who are at risk of stroke. Research shows that 30 minutes of moderate exercise—including low-impact workouts like walking and yoga—five days per week can minimize your chance of stroke and the number on the scale.
Taste the Rainbow
Rather than reaching for that cellophane-wrapped snack, opt for the fruit bowl instead. Improve your cholesterol by incorporating the right mix of foods into your diet—and the more colorful the produce, the better. Stay consistent and mindful about your dietary intake, and you'll start to see the fruits of your labor.
Be Kind to Your Lungs
Don't let your health go up in smoke. If you are a smoker or vaper, now's the time to quit. A timeline of smoking cessation shows that within 20 minutes of quitting, your pulse rate will slow down—and within one to five years, you will have significantly reduced your risk of cardiac events, including stroke.
Make Time for You
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the nervous system, sending cortisol (the stress hormone responsible for the fight-or-flight response) into overdrive and putting you more at risk for stroke. Carve out some "Me Time" in your schedule for self-care activities such as yoga, mindfulness exercises, and sleep hygiene.