Stroke Awareness Month: Healthy Habits to Reduce Your Risk of Stroke
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Strokes can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. To honor Stroke Awareness Month, learn to protect yourself against stroke through healthy daily habits.
In 2008 alone, every four minutes someone died from a stroke, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. Although many people think of stroke as a condition that affects only older adults, strokes can and do occur in people of all ages. In fact, nearly a quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than age 65.
Reduce your blood pressure
High blood pressure is the biggest contributing factor to the risk of stroke. Keeping an eye on your blood pressure and treating it if it is high is the best way to reduce your risk. There are many ways to reduce blood pressure including reducing the salt in your diet, avoiding high-cholesterol foods, quitting smoking, and of course, getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Exercise contributes to losing weight and lowering blood pressure, but it also stands on its own as an independent stroke reducer. Dedicating time to exercise every day can be challenging for many people. If you struggle to make time for physical activity, try integrating simple habits into your daily routine, like walking to work and taking the stairs. Belty Good Vibes can help. It alerts you if you have been sitting too long, reminds you to increase your pace while walking and helps you adopt other healthy habits.
Your body produces a surge of hormones when you are feeling stressed. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. Simple breathing exercises, getting more sleep and medication are all helpful ways to reduce daily stress.