Lifestyle Changes You Can Apply to Lower Chances of Stroke

Despite being one of the most common forms of cardiovascular disease (and the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S.), strokes remain poorly understood by many people. A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain gets interrupted or severely reduced, which prevents your brain from getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. 

Because stroke is a cardiovascular disease, it can often be prevented with lifestyle modifications. Courtesy of the heart health experts at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants in Bradenton, Florida, try making these five lifestyle changes to lower your chances of a stroke.

1. Eat heart-healthy foods

A heart-healthy diet is one of the best methods for decreasing your overall risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating lots of healthy fats (like avocados and almonds), whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can boost your cardiovascular health and lower the chances that you’ll suffer a stroke.

2. Engage in cardiovascular exercise

Cardiovascular exercise trains your cardiovascular system — it puts temporary stress on your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to ultimately strengthen them. Cardiovascular exercise is often referred to simply as “cardio,” and you probably know it in the forms of running, cycling, or stair-climbing. Cardio doesn’t have to be structured exercise, though: Hiking, playing ball with your kids, dancing, and swimming are all great forms of cardio. 

3. Quit smoking

Smoking can increase your risk of stroke by accelerating the formation of blood clots, raising your blood triglycerides, lowering your “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and causing your blood vessels to thicken or narrow. As such, quitting cigarettes is a great way to reduce your stroke risk. Quitting smoking can be tough and often feel impossible, so be sure to enlist your doctor for help and set up a network of support. 

4. Drink in moderation

Alcohol consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease, particularly hypertension (high blood pressure). Having high blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes, so reducing your alcohol consumption — or avoiding it altogether — can reduce your risk of stroke. 

5. Lose weight

Chances are, you’ll naturally lose weight by switching to a heart-healthy diet, starting a cardio exercise regimen, and curbing your alcohol consumption. But it’s still worth mentioning because studies have linked weight loss to a significantly reduced risk of all cardiovascular diseases, including stroke. Maintaining a healthy body weight helps your body function as it should, rather than expending too much of its energy fighting illnesses. 

To learn more about heart health or find out where you stand, visit Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants. Schedule an appointment by calling our Bradenton, Florida office at 941-404-7958 or book your appointment online.

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