5 Easy Steps To Lower Your Risk Of Stroke

Megan Ray  |  October 20, 2015

World Stroke Day takes place on Oct. 29 every year. It's a good opportunity to focus on the impact that stroke has on people across the globe and how they can prevent their risk of experiencing an incident. It's important that seniors, who are particularly vulnerable to heart conditions, know how to lower their chances of having a stroke.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, stroke accounts for 1 out of every 20 deaths. Out of the 795,000 people who are affected by the condition, 610,000 are those experiencing a stroke for the first time and 185,000 have previously had a stroke, explained the source. This is important for older adults to note, as this means that it's possible to have multiple strokes if they aren't taking the proper preventative measures. 

In 2009, 66 percent of those who had a stroke were over 65 years old, noted the CDC. As World Stroke Day approaches, older adults should understand the risk factors and ways to lower their chances of having a stroke. Here are five tips for avoiding an incident:

1. Eat the right healthy foods
The American Stroke Association mentioned that when it comes to reducing people's chances of experiencing a stoke, there are certain healthy foods that will help. Seniors should try to consume foods that are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Meals that consist of whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables and fat-free dairy products will provide them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy. The ASA also suggested eating oily fish twice a week for the omega-3 fatty acids. A combination of these foods will help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol while enabling people to keep their weight down. 

2. Exercise regularly
Older adults should do their best to be active every day. The American Heart Association recommended that people fit at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise into their schedules every week. This could include getting together with friends at seniors' assisted living communities and going for a 30-minute group walk five times a week or joining a local exercise program. 

3. Drink alcohol in moderation
If seniors drink, they should make sure that they aren't overindulging, as consuming too much alcohol can increase people's risk of having a stroke. Harvard Health Publication noted that men should avoid having more than two drinks per day and women should have no more than one. Even if people don't drink much during the week, it's important that they aren't consuming more than the recommended amount on the weekends. The source pointed out that a single drink should includes 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor or 5 ounces of wine. 

4. Have risk factors checked at appointments
High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are some of the most common risk factors for stroke, according to The Internet Stroke Center. Adults should get regular checkups to keep an eye on these conditions because, if they go untreated, seniors' chances of experiencing a stroke, as well as several other serious illnesses, greatly increase. 

5. Cut back on stroke-inducing habits
One of the habits that can lead to increased risk of stroke is consuming too much sodium. Harvard Health Publication explained that people over 51 years old should eat no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt each day to prevent high blood pressure and cholesterol. The Internet Stroke Center also noted that tobacco can significantly raise adults' risk of having a stroke, so quitting the habit will have major health benefits. 

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