Healthy ways to prevent that stroke
Posted Thursday, April 12 2012 at 19:18
Tell tale signs to look out for
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg. Usually affects one side of the body. Objects you are holding may suddenly fall out of your hand and if you were eating, food or drink may dribble from the side of your mouth.
- Sudden inability to speak properly. This ranges from slurred speech (like a drunk person) to complete speech loss.
- Sudden difficulty in understanding what people around you are saying.
- Sudden onset of dizziness and confusion.
- Sudden severe headache.
- Trouble seeing (everything becomes hazy and unclear).
- Sudden difficulty in walking. This may range from staggering due to lack of balance and co-ordination to total inability to walk.
If you have any of these signs, seek medical help immediately.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is cut off by either a clot blocking the blood vessels or when some brain blood vessels burst.
The brain tissue is very sensitive and when its blood supply gets interrupted, it begins to die.
This leads to weakness in parts of the body, difficulty in speaking, seeing, walking, confusion, and severe headache. It normally affects one side of the body.
There are certain risk factors associated with stroke that we cannot change. These include:
- Age (greater risk if one is over 55 years)
- Gender (males get more strokes and at an earlier age than females)
- Race (blacks have the greatest risk among all the races)
- Family history
We are, however, not helpless in the face of stroke as most risk factors are under our control. As part your individual plan to prevent stroke, the following steps have been found to be effective.
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor in the development of stroke. Have your blood pressure checked at least annually if you are over 40 and more frequently as you grow older.
To help prevent and control high blood pressure, cut down on your salt intake, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, eat healthily with lots of fruits and vegetables while taking your medication as directed by your physician.
Poorly controlled diabetes damages blood vessels of the brain and can lead to stroke. There is also a tendency for diabetes to co-exist with hypertension. Everyone needs to go for a diabetes screening test annually.
To help prevent and control diabetes, eat a healthy diet, maintain a good weight and exercise. Also ensure you take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Weight control and exercise
Every individual has an ideal weight for their height. However, if you have a waist that is markedly larger than your hips, you have a condition known as truncal obesity.