Stroke is the death of brain cells due to obstruction and reduction in blood flow. The prevalence of stroke increases with increasing age. The common signs and symptoms of a stroke include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body, problems understanding or speaking, dizziness, or loss of vision to one side. It occurs more commonly in men that women. Certain factors that predisposes to stroke includes; hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, alcohol use, smoking.
Stroke can be very debilitating. Here are certain steps you can be put in place to ensure you don’t have a stroke;
1. Maintain normal blood pressure: High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. It’s important you maintain your blood at below 140/90mmHg. If your blood pressure is higher than this please see your doctor for appropriate medications to reduce the blood pressure.
2.Reduce your weight: Obesity increases your chances of having a stroke. You should ensure you reduce your body mass index (BMI; weight in kg/height in meters 2) to less than 30kg/m2 .Also ensure your waste circumference is less than 102cm if you are a man or 88cm if you are a woman. To achieve this ensure the amount of calories you eat per day is less than 2000 and it correlates with the activity you do daily.
3.Stop smoking: Smoking increases the narrowing of your blood vessels. This predisposes to hypertension which is a leading cause of stroke. Cessation of smoking greatly reduces your chance of having a stroke. You can talk to your doctor on useful tips on how to quit smoking.
4.Exercise regularly: This helps with weight reduction which eventually improve blood pressure. You should exercise at least 5 times in a week. Participate in simple exercises like; walking, swimming, jogging.
5.Properly control your blood sugar: People with deranged sugar level (diabetes) are more prone to stroke due to the effect of elevated blood sugar on the blood vessels.
6.Become more active: Avoid sedentary lifestyles(a life of inactivity)by taking part in basic activites in your day to day living.
7.Drink alcohol in moderation: Alcohol aids narrows blood vessels which causes increased blood pressure. This also prevents adequate supply to certain organs e.g. liver ,kidney which can cause malfunctioning.
8.Consume less salt: Excess consumption of salt causes high blood pressure which can lead to stroke and other conditions if not controlled. Eating of canned and processed foods should be reduced as these contain salts used as preservative
9.Sleep for at least 7 hours a day: Regular rest and sleep for 7-8 hours helps to reduce high blood pressure and headaches which are pointers to stroke. Endeavor to take rest at intervals of work. 10
10.Pay attention to palpitation: Watch out and report to the doctor if you often experience irregular heart beat patterns for proper evaluation and immediate treatment. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
11.Watch out for the following symptoms: Use the handy mnemonic FAST to recognize the symptoms and report to the doctor as soon as possible if you notice one or two of these symptoms;
- F (face): uneven smile, facial droopiness, numbness, vision disturbance
- A (arm & leg): weakness, numbness, difficulty walking
- S (speech): slurred, inappropriate words, mute
- T (time): Realize that time is critical. If you notice any of the above symptoms