Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death for adults in the United States, but nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable. To protect yourself and your loved ones, understand stroke prevention strategies and the signs of stokes. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.
The Importance of Monitoring Your Levels
High cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels all increase your risk of stroke. As a result, you should monitor these levels on a regular basis and ensure they stay within a healthy range. Your doctor or home health care provider can help you with these tests, and by following the tips of professionals, you can stay within a healthy range in all of these categories.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
To keep your cholesterol levels healthy, start by being smart about fats. Stay away from saturated fats in red meats, and ban trans fats from fried foods and packaged sweets from your diet. Instead, eat healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids in fish, almonds, and other foods.
These healthy fats are so popular that they’re even being added to food like peanut butter, so you can look for healthy fats in all sorts of food. In general, eat healthy food and try to do some light exercising such as walking every day.
The Right Blood Pressure Range
High blood pressure is linked to heart attacks as well as strokes, so it’s important to keep your levels in a healthy range. Many of the tips that work for cholesterol levels also help with blood pressure—so again, remember to focus on healthy eating and exercising.
You might benefit from working with someone who can motivate you, and a home healthcare worker can help with diet advice, some meal prep, and oversight of exercise routines. In addition to eating healthy meals and exercising, make sure that you don’t smoke and, if applicable, cut back on drinking alcohol. If you have medication for blood pressure, remember to take it.
Balanced Blood Glucose Levels
When it comes to glucose levels, you don’t want them to be too high or too low. To keep your blood glucose in the right place, you should focus on eating lots of small meals through the day rather than just having two or three big meals.
Eat food that sustains you. Proteins and whole grains are great options because they take a long time to digest and keep your glucose levels more stable over time than simple sugars do.
Standard Signs of a Stroke
In addition to focusing on healthy habits, you should know the signs of a stroke. If you or someone you know starts having a stroke, you need to get help as soon as possible. Some of the most effective early stroke treatments need to be started within a certain number of hours of when the stroke starts.
To help you spot a stroke, the Stroke Association recommends using the acronym FAST. Here’s a look at what each of those letters mean.
F = Face Drooping
If your face is numb or drooping, that is a sign you may be having a stroke. If you can, go to the mirror and look for a lopsided or uneven smile.
A = Arm Weakness
Try to lift both arms. If you can’t lift one, that is another sign that a stroke may be happening. You should seek medical care immediately.
S = Speech Difficulty
Another common symptom of a stroke is difficulty speaking. In many cases, a person may be able to think words but have trouble writing or speaking them.
T = Time to Call 911
If you have any or all of the above symptoms, call 911 or activate your emergency alert system if you have one.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you are having a stroke, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Call for emergency medical services as soon as possible.
Additional Signs of a Stroke
You may also notice additional symptoms of a stroke. For example, you may have blurry vision and difficulty seeing with one or both eyes. You may notice a lack of balance or an inability to walk. In some cases, you may feel numbness on one side of your body or have severe headaches with unknown reasons.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke, you may need help recovering. If you’ve already had a stroke, your risk of having another one is higher than usual, and it’s especially important to follow these tips and get help as needed.
At Caring Inc, we offer part-time and full-time home care for people who want to stay in their homes and maintain as much independence as possible, and we can help you prevent and recover from a stroke. Call us to set up care today.