Stroke: The top five best things you can do to prevent the life-threatening condition
Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes
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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reported more than 100,000 strokes take place each year in Britain – with 38,000 people losing their lives every 12 months. However, the condition is preventable. Regardless of your age or family history, stroke prevention can start immediately. One major factor that increases a risk of stroke is high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension).
Harvard Medical School stated hypertension can double or quadruple your stroke risk if it’s not well managed.
An ideal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80mmHg if possible, and this may be achieved by reducing salt in your diet.
Eat less salt
Experts advise people not to have more than half a teaspoon of salt per day, but salt can be hidden in many foods.
The NHS lists high-salt foods that should be eaten in moderation:
- Gravy granules
- Salted and dry-roasted nuts
- Salt fish
- Smoked meat and fish
- Soy sauce
- Stock cubes
- Yeast extract
Downloading the Change4Life Food Scanner on your smartphone will help reveal salt content in pre-packaged foods.
Different brands of the same food items, such as crumpets, can have varying amounts of salt.
Other examples you can scan include: sausages, pizza, ready meals, crisps, pasta sauces, condiments, breakfast cereals and soup.
Evidently, it should be a useful tool to keep track of how much salt you’re buying in the first place.
In order to keep blood pressure in a healthy range (or least stop it from getting worse), it’s important to exercise regularly.
Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, says experts, so maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of a stroke.
An ideal body mass index (BMI) is 25 or less, said Harvard Medical School.
Exercising for 30 minutes daily, five times per week, will help lower your chance of having a stroke.
It’ll also help your waistline, blood pressure and stroke risk to “increase polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in your diet”.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 and omega-6, which can be found in oils and oily fish.
Examples of polyunsaturated fats include:
- Rapeseed oil
- Corn oil
- Sunflower oil
Monounsaturated fats can be found in: olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts.
Minimise saturated fats
Foods high in saturated fat aren’t good for your health if consumed too heavily, examples include:
- Soured cream
- Ice cream
- Palm oil
- Coconut oil
- Coconut cream
Fruit and veg
Another stroke preventative measure is to eat four to five cups of fruits and vegetables every day, said Harvard Medical School.
The fact of the matter is that smoking is notoriously poisonous to your health.
Smoking can increase your blood pressure, stroke risk and cause extensive damage throughout the whole of your body.
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