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Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. And every 3.5 minutes someone dies of a stroke. Here are five ways to lower your stroke risk and improve your overall health.
Know your risks
The risk of stroke is higher for people aged 65 or older and for those with a genetic predisposition or with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Talk to your doctor about your numbers, what goals you need to meet, and what medication options are right for you.
Get off the couch
Exercise is the best medicine, especially for those who are at risk for stroke. Research shows that 30 minutes of moderate exercise — including low-impact workouts like walking and yoga — five days a week can minimize your stroke risk and number on the scale.
Taste the rainbow
Instead of reaching for that cellophane-wrapped snack, opt for the fruit bowl instead. Improve your cholesterol by including the right mix of foods in your diet – and the more colorful the products, the better. Stay consistent and watch your nutritional intake, and you will start to see the fruits of your labor.
Be kind to your lungs
Don’t let your health go up in smoke. If you are a smoker or vaper, now is the time to quit. A smoking cessation timeline shows that within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate will slow — and within one to five years, you’ll have significantly reduced your risk of heart disease, including stroke.
Make time for you
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the nervous system, putting cortisol (the stress hormone responsible for the fight-or-flight response) into overdrive and putting you at greater risk of stroke. Schedule some “Me Time” into your schedule for self-care activities like yoga, mindfulness practices, and sleep hygiene.