Prevention of Stroke

What is a stroke?

A stroke, also called a “brain attack”, is the second leading cause of death and a major cause of disability worldwide. A stroke happens either because a blood supply to the brain is blocked or if one or more blood vessel in the brain ruptures. In the case of a stroke, oxygen and nutrients that are needed by all the cells of your body to function properly do not reach your brain cells causing their death. You can protect your brain and prevent yourself from having a stroke.

What are the risk factors for stroke?

Several factors increase your risk of having a stroke more than others. These include:

  • Age (above 55)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Smoking
  • High blood sugar (diabetes)
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation)
  • Certain blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

Knowing the warning signs for stroke may help save your life or the life of someone you love. And, getting quick treatment may improve the chances of survival and getting

better faster. The signs or symptoms of a stroke can appear suddenly. Not every person has all of them. When you see ANY of them, act quickly.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember how to recognize a stroke and what to do.

Stroke is an EMERGENCY. Call 998 immediately if these signs are present:

F = Face Drooping
A = Arm Weakness
S = Speech Difficulty
T = Time to call 998

Other stroke symptoms include sudden:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

How can I prevent having a stroke?

  • Maintain Healthy Weight, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, And Blood Fat Levels.
  • Check with your doctor or dietitian for your ideal body weight and waist circumference. Your goal is to reach and maintain your levels.
  • Control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood fat levels by checking your numbers frequently. Ask your doctor about your normal levels and try to reach and maintain them.
  • Eat A Healthy Diet.
  • Choose a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits per day.
  • Eat high fiber food such as beans, lentils, peas, etc.
  • Eat at least two servings of fish per week.
  • Choose lean meat and chicken (without skin).
  • Include low fat or fat-free dairy products in your diet.
  • Limit salt (sodium) intake to less than one teaspoon per day. Remember that certain foods that you consume daily such as processed ones are high in salt.
  • Avoid fatty foods. In particular, avoid saturated fats, trans-fats, and foods labeled with partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats. In general, limit butter, high fat dairy products, fried food, processed meat such as burgers and sausages, liver meats, chicken skin, egg yolks, chocolate, etc.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit your alcohol intake to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

* In case of a medical condition, follow up with your doctor and dietitian to follow an appropriate diet

  • Stay Physically Active.
  • Practice moderate aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Moderate exercise includes brisk or fast walking, jogging, swimming, gardening, biking, etc. In case of a medical condition, you should follow up with your doctor before you exercise.
  • Do Not Smoke
  • To protect your heart and brain, avoid smoking. If you smoke, quit. Avoid secondhand smoking as well. Your risk of a stroke will decrease once you quit smoking. Tobacco is a major ingredient in cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and Hubble bubbles (Shisha).

For more information and educational resources, you can download The American Stroke  Association Stroke education pamphlets