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4 ways to reduce stroke risk

Someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted and the brain does not get oxygen and nutrients, which causes damage. The area of the brain affected and the length of time the flow is interrupted are two of the factors that determine the severity of the stroke.

Here are four ways to reduce your risk of stroke.

Watch your weight

Nearly everyone wants to lose a few pounds, but watching your weight is more than a vanity issue. Being overweight can double your stroke risk. To determine your healthy weight, calculate your body mass index, or BMI. The CDC website offers an easy BMI calculator. If your BMI is over 25, take steps to reduce your weight. There is no magic way to lose weight. The key is to burn more calories than you consume each day. Exercise is a great way to burn calories. Another weight loss tip is to drink water before a meal to help fill you up so you eat less. Aim for meals that have more protein and fiber and reduce the amount of carbs. It also is a good idea to eat slower. Try putting your fork down between bites. Keep your goals realistic. The weight will not disappear in one day. Consider working with a nutritionist if you aren’t sure how to start.

Know your blood pressure

Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is significantly higher than this, take steps to lower it. High blood pressure can double or even quadruple stroke risk. One way to reduce blood pressure is to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Ideally, salt intake should only be about 1,500 milligrams a day, about 1/2 teaspoon. Be aware of salt content. One slice of pizza averages 765 milligrams of salt. Another tip for reducing high blood pressure is to eat four to five cups of fruits and vegetables each day while cutting back on foods high in saturated fat.

Sneak in exercise

Exercise can be a challenge if your days are already full. However, regular moderate exercise can lower stroke risk by 20%. Look for ways to add exercise to your routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk during your lunch break. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

Take atrial fibrillation seriously

If someone is experiencing an irregular heartbeat, they should see a doctor immediately. (Image licensed by Shutterstock)

If your heartbeat is irregular, it is known as atrial fibrillation. When your heart does not beat regularly, blood clots can form and travel to the brain where they cause a stroke. If you have atrial fibrillation, your stroke risk is five times greater. So if you think your heart is not beating regularly, see a doctor for medications to address this risk.

Make your health a priority

There are many things that deserve attention in your life, but your health should be at the top of the list, especially during a time of recovery from a medical event. While giving needed attention to medical issues, it is important to maintain healthy practices such as eating a healthy diet, managing blood pressure and participating in safe activities to regain strength and balance. And after a medical event or a hospital stay, it is important to choose to recover in a short-term care facility where comprehensive care is offered. One of the leading providers for this level of care is Glenview Terrace.

At Glenview Terrace, the focus is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. Focusing on healthcare excellence and safety, Glenview Terrace provides the latest infection-control precautions, including routine COVID-19 testing and monitoring. Glenview Terrace is also ranked among the top 1% of all Illinois post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers by Newsweek — and has received Medicare’s highest five-star rating. Glenview Terrace has also earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval certification for post-hospital and post-surgical care. What’s more, Medicare usually covers short-term stays. For additional information or to arrange a personalized virtual tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.