Stroke Prevention with Regular Health Check-ups and Lifestyle Changes

Going through regular health check-ups plays an important role in stroke prevention. The best way to understand an individual’s risk for stroke is to know all of his risk factors. As per an estimate, 9 out of 10 cardiovascular practitioners suggest preventive health screenings for cardiovascular disease (plaque in the arteries) for individuals with key risk factors like age 55+, family history, tobacco use, high blood-pressure, etc. If health-check-up indicates any of the following risk factors, an individual can try and control that with regular medication as advised by the physician and diet modification.

Importance of regular health check-ups

One needs to get his health check-up done regularly. If reports indicate a high blood cholesterol level, one can try and control that with regular medication as large amounts of cholesterol in the blood can build up and cause blood clots, leading to a stroke.

Body mass index (BMI) should also be checked regularly and should be between 18 and 20. In case an individual falls into the overweight category, he is suggested to get his body mass into a healthy range. Excess body weight and obesity are linked with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

If an individual has a history of high blood pressure, he is recommended to take blood pressure (BP) medication regularly, cut down the salt intake and switch to low salt diet. Diabetics should get their fasting and postprandial (PP) sugar level checked. They should also monitor HBA1C level to foresee the possibility of getting a stroke. While diabetes is treatable, the presence of the disease still increases the risk of stroke. One should learn to lower risks by exercising regularly, cutting fatty food and including more green vegetables in the diet.

Avoiding smoking and alcohol

Several research studies confirm that smokers are three times more likely to encounter a stroke than non-smokers. Smoking makes blood thick and increases blood pressure, making an individual more vulnerable to stroke. Hence, chain-smokers are advised to slowly cut down on smoking per day and try to quit it.

Alcohol also contributes to a number of risk factors for stroke (cerebral embolism, enhancement of platelet aggregation, induction of hypertension and activation of the clotting cascade). This justifies why more than one drink per day can make an individual more vulnerable to stroke. Hence, alcohol should be consumed in moderation or avoided if possible.