The cold reality is that of all the risks related to a stroke, all of them but age are within the realm of our control. It really is all about prevention when talking about a stroke.
Reducing hypertension, quitting smoking, addressing obesity, taking care of our blood sugar in the setting of diabetes and increasing physical activity are all potential areas we can modify to reduce the risk of stroke. (1)
These risk factors have something in common, that thing is nutrition. Smoking depletes your body of vitamin C; hypertension can be reduced by eating less sodium and increasing the fiber in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes; with a healthful diet you can lose weight, blood sugar ban be better managed by counting carbs and diet alone isn’t enough, we also need to be physically active. The point is-diet matters, in stroke prevention. (2)
Famous comedian-actress Carol Burnett said, “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” As I reflect on that simple, yet very wise statement it reminds me that we are each the expert of our own existence. If you smoke, you already know you should quit; just like if you have hypertension you know you have to watch your sodium.
What it boils down to is that you are the only one who can choose to make healthful changes in your life.If you want to reduce your risk of having a stroke, then start now by making your health a priority. It is never too late or early to start making health goals.
There are a variety of formats for setting goals but a popular method is the, SMART way: specific, meaningful, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound is what it means to make a SMART goal. (3) An example of what a smart goal may sound like is: Beginning tomorrow, I will reduce my hypertension by eating no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. In order to do this I will take the saltshaker off the table and only choose a processed food after read the label and determining if the amount of sodium is right for me.
I will do this because I care for my health and do not want to have a stroke.