The number of Arkansan lives claimed by stroke is staggeringly high compared to the rest of the country – but you do have the power to reduce your risk. Nancy Branch, Baptist Health patient and stroke survivor, has a few preventive measures you can take to improve your chances of avoiding a stroke.
Lower your blood pressure.
Get your blood pressure checked regularly, and take actions to lower it if it is 140/90 or higher.
Lower your cholesterol.
Your total cholesterol should be under 200. Have your physician check your cholesterol during your yearly check-up, and help you create a plan to lower it if it is too high.
Monitor your heartbeat.
If you notice any irregularities in your heartbeat, such as racing, slowing down or an irregular rhythm, call your doctor immediately.
Smoking increases your risk for a wide range of illness and disease, including stroke. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to experience a stroke than nonsmokers.
Limit alcohol consumption.
High alcohol consumption is associated with stroke. If you do drink alcohol, try not to consume more than two to three beverages in one sitting, and make a few days of your week alcohol-free.
Control your blood sugar levels.
If you’re diabetic, closely monitor and control your sugar levels.
Find an exercise you enjoy, such as lifting weights, walking or biking, and make time to do it every day.
Eat healthy foods.
Make sure your diet is rich in vegetables and lean protein, and avoid salty, fatty foods.
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