What Are Stroke Risk Factors?
Lifestyle risk factors include:
- Smoking. Smoking can double the risk of a stroke because it can thicken the blood, which can cause a blood clot.
- Physical activity. People who are physically active can reduce their stroke risk.
- Diet. Too many calories can cause excess weight, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes, all of which increase stroke risk.
How Can I Reduce My Risk of a Stroke?
Reading through the stroke risk factors, it is clear that there is nothing that can be done for uncontrollable risk factors: you can’t turn back the hands of time, your genetic makeup determines your gender and your race.
However, you do have control over your lifestyle, which can decrease your chances of developing the medical risk factors.
Quitting smoking may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Although this may seem daunting, there are a variety of resources. Seek help from your doctor if you feel you need a prescription medication.
Get exercising. Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult. While you may be envisioning yourself at the gym lifting weights, exercise can be as simple as a walk in the park with your significant other or dancing in your living room.
It just needs to be something to get your heart rate elevated. Find something that you enjoy and stick with it!
Lose weight if you need to. To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories then you burn. Seek help from your doctor or ask for a referral to speak with a registered dietitian (RD), who can evaluate your specific needs.
In addition, if you have AFib and are prescribed a blood thinner to prevent blood from pooling in your atria, take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. This includes getting lab work when ordered.