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Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Stroke

How can I make my lifestyle healthier?

You can do plenty to make your heart and blood vessels healthy, even if you’ve had a stroke. A healthy lifestyle plays a big part in decreasing disability and death from stroke and heart attack.
Here are the steps to take:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Improve your eating habits.
  • Be physically active.
  • Take your medications as prescribed.
  • Get your blood pressure checked and control it if it’s high.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Decrease your stress level.
  • Seek emotional support when needed.
  • Have regular medical checkups.

How do I stop smoking?

  • Make a decision to quit – and commit to sticking with it.
  • Ask your healthcare professional for information and programs that may help.
  • Fight the urge to smoke by going to smoke-free facilities. Avoid staying around people who smoke.
  • Keep busy doing things that make it hard to smoke, like working in the yard.
  • Remind yourself that smoking causes many diseases, can harm others and is deadly.
  • Ask your family and friends to support you.

How do I change my eating habits?

  • Ask your doctor, nurse or a licensed nutritionist for help.
  • Be aware of your special needs, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
  • Avoid foods like egg yolks, fatty meats, butter and cream, which are high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Eat moderate amounts of food and cut down on saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Bake, broil, roast and boil (don’t fry) foods.
  • Avoid most “fast food” and read nutrition labels on packaged meals.
  • Limit alcohol to one drink a day.
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, cereals, dried peas and beans, pasta, fish, poultry and lean meats.

What about physical activity?

  • Check with your doctor before you start.
  • Start slowly and build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity session, five or more days a week.
  • Try new types of physical activity for home activities – dancing, weight training, warm-water exercises, tai chi or specialized videotapes.
  • Physical activity reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke and makes your heart stronger.
  • It helps control your weight and blood pressure, helps you relax and can improve your mood.
  • Look for even small chances to be more active. Take the stairs instead of an elevator and park farther from your destination.