How can I prevent stroke?
Keep your risk factors under control
- Manage your high blood pressure
- Manage your diabetes
- Manage your high cholesterol
- Go for regular health screening and follow-up as advised
- Attend medical appointments and take prescribed medications as instructed
Blood flowing at a high pressure, uncontrolled diabetes and high “bad” cholesterol damage blood vessels over time. This results in narrowing of blood vessels and causes clots to form over the damage. These can also weaken the walls of blood vessels, predisposing them to bursting and bleeding in the brain.
If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol levels, lifestyle modifications and medications can effectively control these conditions to reduce the risk of stroke. Medications need to be taken regularly as prescribed and you should follow-up with your doctor regularly.
If you have a heart condition (such as irregular heart rate) or a blood condition that increases your risk of stroke, you should follow the advice from your doctor. There are medications that may lower stroke risk.
Do you know if you have any of the above conditions? As these conditions may not show any obvious signs and symptoms, it is important, particularly for those above 40 years of age, to undergo regular health screenings and follow-up as advised by doctors.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to be effective in decreasing blood pressure, improving blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. It seems like simple advice, but it really has a big impact!
Excess weight increases risk of several diseases that can lead to stroke, including diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and exercise helps to lower your stroke risk.
Smoking releases many chemicals that are absorbed by the body. These go into the blood and cause significant damage to the blood vessels. This increases the risk of stroke. Smoking also leads to many other diseases like lung cancer. Quit smoking and stay smoke-free.
Heavy drinking and binge drinking of alcohol increases the risk of stroke. It can also lead to liver disease, heart disease, and some cancers. Drink no more than two standard drinks a day for men, and no more than one standard drink for women. A standard alcoholic drink contains 10 grams of alcohol, and this can be estimated to be (i) 1 can (330ml) of regular beer or (ii) half a glass (175 ml) of wine or (iii) 1 nip (35 ml) of spirit.