This year, The Stroke Foundation is encouraging Australians to discover how easy it is to fit healthy habits into their day and do their part to prevent stroke. National Stroke Week being held on 3rd-9th September is about every step counting towards a healthy life.
It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented simply by managing risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle. There are some risk factors for stroke which can’t be prevented like age, family history and prior stroke. If you’re male, your risk is also higher.
There are two ways to approach this: first by talking to your doctor and secondly by taking ownership of your own health.
How to take charge of your own health and prevent stroke:
Are you eating from the five food groups every day?
Balance your diet – Mix it up with vegetables, fruit and grain, lean meats, poultry and fish, reduced fat milk and yoghurt.
Substitute your snacks – Swap sweets for nuts or fresh fruit.
Go fresh – Buy from markets or shop around the outside aisles of the supermarket. Drop the salt by checking the sodium content on packaged foods.
Steer clear of sugary drinks – Drink plenty of water.
Bonus Tip – Plan your weekly menu in advance and remember every bite counts!
Drink alcohol in moderation.
Do you know your alcohol limit?
Think before you drink – Drinking large amounts of alcohol increases your risk of stroke through increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation).
Less than two – For men, no more than two standard alcoholic drinks on any day and for women one standard drink per day, to reduce harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
Do you raise your heart rate through exercise at least 2.5-5 hours a week?
Walk instead – Substitute a car journey for a walk or go for a bushwalk.
Pick up your pace- move at a faster rate than you usually would for more benefit.
Sign up for a weekly class – Dancing, aerobics, CrossFit, whatever takes your fancy.
Get moving outdoors – Whether it’s a bike ride, a swim or working up a sweat in the garden, enjoy the great outdoors and enjoy the additional benefits of vitamin D.
Smoking increases your risk of stroke by increasing blood pressure and reducing oxygen in the blood. Smoking also increases the stickiness of the blood. This further increases the risk of blood clots forming.
Did you know that within 24 hours of quitting your body starts to repair?
Halve your stroke risk – Smokers have twice the risk of having a stroke than non-smokers.
Immediate impacts – There is immediate health benefits from quitting, even if you already suffer health problems.
The benefits continue – Within a month of quitting blood pressure can return to its normal range. The risk of heart attack and stroke starts to drop immediately and can drop by up to half after a year.
It is never too late to stop smoking. Talk to your doctor now about quitting.
National Quit line 13 78 48 (13 QUIT)
See your GP.
You book your car for a check-up. When did you last book yourself in for a check-up?
Ask for a blood pressure check – High blood pressure is the key risk factor for stroke. It’s a hidden risk, there are no immediate symptoms so the only way you know you have it is to get checked by a doctor or pharmacist.
High blood pressure is treatable – Your doctor may prescribe medication.
Take control of your BP – You can lower your blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising.
Watch your cholesterol- High cholesterol, also known as hyperlipidemia or dyslipidemia, contributes to blood vessel disease, which often leads to stroke. Speak to your doctor about your current cholesterol level and what you should aim for to reduce your risk of stroke.
Stay on top of type 2 diabetes – Talk to your doctor about controlling type 2 diabetes by maintaining blood sugar levels through diet, regular exercise and monitoring blood glucose levels.
About Stroke Foundation Australia
The Stroke Foundation is a national charity that partners with the community to prevent, treat and beat stroke. It stands alongside stroke survivors and their families, healthcare professionals and researchers, building community awareness and foster new thinking and innovative treatments. Stroke Foundation Australia support survivors on their journey to live the best possible life after stroke.
Donate here (link) https://strokefoundation.org.au/Donate
EVERY STEP COUNTS TOWARDS A HEALTHY LIFE
80% of strokes can be prevented. Take your first step today. Book an appointment with your GP and take control and stop stroke.