Statistics have shown that more than 80% of strokes1 can be prevented, but it can be difficult knowing what you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.
We explore 4 ways you can reduce your risk of stroke, what risk factors are likely to increase your risk of stroke and more.
What are risk factors?
Risk factors are things that can increase your risk of getting a stroke. There are a range of risk factors that you can’t change, such as your family history, gender or your age.
There are also modifiable risk factors, which are things that you can change, whether it’s your lifestyle or diet, which can reduce your risk of getting a stroke1.
Risk factors are different for everyone, so it’s important to know your personal risk factors.
Some risk factors that can increase your risk of stroke include1:
Your gender. Males have a higher stroke risk at nearly every age, but women have their own risk factors, including oral contraception or pregnancy that can increase their risk.
Family history. For example, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol running in your family, you’re at a higher stroke risk than someone who doesn’t.
Your age. If you’re older, it’s more likely that you’re going to have a stroke.
What you eat. If you eat unhealthy food, it can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight. All of these things increase your risk of stroke.
What can I do to reduce my risk of stroke?
While you can’t change your age, your gender, or your genetics, we’ve found five ways you can reduce your stroke risk factors.
1. Increase your physical activity
Not getting enough exercise is the second biggest risk factor for stroke, as it can lead to being overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.
Being active for 30 minutes a day at a moderate intensity (being able to talk but breathing heavily) can help reduce your individual risk factor for stroke2.
If you don’t have 30 minutes a day to exercise, break it up into 10 to 15 minute sessions a few times each day. You can also take the stairs instead of an elevator or take a walk around your neighbourhood every day after breakfast.
2. Speak to your Pharmacist or doctor about the following health issues
There are some health conditions that can increase your risk of stroke, including1:
High blood pressure, which can damage your blood vessel walls and lead to heart problems
High cholesterol, which can build up plaques on the walls of your arteries and narrow them, leading to less blood flow
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which impacts your ability to absorb glucose (blood sugar) and can damage your blood vessels
Speaking to your Pharmacist or doctor about whether these health conditions are increasing your risk of stroke is vital in reducing your personal risk factors.
Your Pharmacist or doctor may recommend that you monitor your blood pressure or your blood sugars as well as change your diet to include less processed foods and foods that keep your blood sugars low.
Your local Blooms The Chemist Pharmacist also can work with you to understand your stroke risk through a Stroke Risk Assessment. Book your free Stroke Risk Assessment today.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is a risk factor that you can modify by quitting smoking. Smoking accelerates blood clot formation by thickening your blood and increasing the amount of plaque build-up in your arteries. It can also lead to high blood pressure3.
It’s one of the most powerful lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of stroke, but it can be tough to quit.
By using quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine patches, and recognising that most smokers need several tries to quit, you can successfully beat the habit and reduce your personal stroke risk.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese can lead to high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, which are health conditions that can increase your risk of stroke.
You can work with your doctor or Pharmacist to explore what weight management strategy will work for you.
By making lifestyle changes, such as changing your diet and exercising more, you can reduce your risk of stroke3.