How Can I Lower My Risk for Stroke? 

Though it’s a common misconception, there’s not one particular age or gender that should be more worried about strokes. In fact, stroke occurrences in younger populations are even on the rise. And though men do tend to have more strokes than women, women’s survival rates are lower. 

“The best way to avoid stroke complications is by preventing a stroke in the first place.  Simple ways to decrease your risk of a stroke include: to quit smoking, limit your alcohol use, keep your blood pressure under control (less than 140/90), participate in cardiovascular exercise (30 minutes, 5 days a week), and control your cholesterol. Preventative appointments with your primary care doctor for your annual healthcare maintenance exam is essential.”

Use the letters in B.E. F.A.S.T. to spot a stroke. This includes B– Balance issues, E– Eye problems/blurry vision, F– Face Drooping, A– Arm Weakness, S– Speech Abnormality, T– Time to call 9-1-1. Earlier treatment provides better long term results, so time is of the essence. If you suspect you or someone you love is having a stroke, seek immediate medical attention. Any further questions, contact your primary care physician. We are here to help!”

Kaitlyn Domres, MD

Primary Care, OLV Family Care Center

It’s important for everyone to consider their stroke risk. Some risk factors, including genetics, are beyond our control. But there are 6 things you do have power over – here are the 6 steps you can take to prevent a stroke. 

1

Lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, more than doubles your risk for stroke. It can also cause other serious health complications, including heart disease. Regular checkups with your primary care provider are a great place to start for blood pressure maintenance. 

2

Limit alcohol use. 

Medical researchers report findings that link excess drinking in the middle-aged years and stroke. Data shows that people who have more than two alcoholic beverages a day are at a higher risk for stroke, as well as being more likely to experience stroke earlier in their lives. 

3

Quit smoking. 

Even for long-time smokers, the American Cancer Society reports that a patient’s stroke risk can match that of a non-smoker within two to five years of quitting. Not only does smoking increase your stroke risk, but it also adds to the chance that a stroke will be fatal. Tobacco smoke affects the consistency of the blood flowing through our bodies, also narrowing arteries and increasing risk for blood clots. 

4

Get more exercise. 

Aerobic exercise is classified as any physical activity that gets your heart pumping and challenges your endurance. Fitness enthusiasts would call it “cardio” and jogging, kickboxing, biking, and swimming are all prime examples. 

5

Control your cholesterol. 

There are two different types of cholesterol, but LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL can cause the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries that carry blood to your heart and brain. Semi-regular blood panels, which can be prescribed by a primary care doctor, are the best way to get a read on your cholesterol levels. Blood pressure and cholesterol can both be managed by taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle – losing weight, eating well, regular exercise. 

6

Learn the warning signs.

How FAST can you rattle off the answer? Catholic Health encourages its patients to BE FAST, or know that changes in a person’s balance, eyes, face, arm, and speech should indicate that TIME is of the essence! If you notice any stroke symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek emergency help immediately.

Find a Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find a Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112