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.