Stroke affects close to 800,000 people in the United States each year. It’s one of the devastating consequences of cardiovascular disease. Roughly 1-in-6 deaths from cardiovascular disease in 2020 was due to stroke.
A stroke occurs when something blocks blood flow to a part of the brain, or a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain ruptures. This deprives part of the brain of oxygen. The effects can be devastating and depend on the part of the brain that is affected.
Here at Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, interventional vascular physician Nader Chadda, MD, FACC, wants everyone to know that stroke is preventable. Even if you have risk factors for stroke, there are things you can do to cut the chances of having a stroke.
1. Form a strong doctor-patient relationship
One of the most important ways to prevent stroke is to develop a collaborative relationship with a health care provider. A vascular specialist like Dr. Chadda is an invaluable member of your health care team.
Dr. Chadda can assess your cardiovascular health and risk factors, monitor your cardiovascular health and recommend strategies and lifestyle changes to prevent stroke.
Some of the risk factors Dr. Chadda looks out for are:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- History of transient ischemic attacks
High blood pressure is the single most important modifiable risk factor for stroke, and your blood pressure should be checked on a regular basis. If you have high blood pressure, it’s crucial to get it under control.
2. Stop smoking
If you currently smoke, it’s vital that you do everything possible to quit. Smoking causes artery damage and can impede blood flow, leading to strokes and heart attacks.
Quitting smoking is as effective as, if not more effective than, medications. If you've attempted to quit previously, give it another shot. It is common for it to take six or seven attempts to completely quit the habit. If you’re struggling to quit, talk to your doctor about resources and medications to help you kick the habit for good.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the essential things you can do to reduce your chances of having a stroke. Extra weight puts a strain on the entire circulatory system and increases the risk of developing a number of additional health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obstructive sleep apnea, among others.
Even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10% of your weight can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. Work with your doctor to develop a practical plan for losing weight and keeping it off if you’re overweight. Adopting healthy habits is the key to long-term weight loss.
4. Manage chronic diseases
Chronic diseases like diabetes significantly boost the chances of having a stroke. If you have diabetes or another chronic disease that affects your cardiovascular health, work closely with your physician to get and keep your condition well-managed.
Being aware and taking the right steps can keep you on the right path toward lowering your risk of stroke and other diseases.
5. Adopt a diet that promotes cardiovascular health
Cutting down on saturated fat and sugar and boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables is the most effective dietary strategy for lowering stroke risk. Research consistently finds that eating a mostly plant-based diet lowers the risk of chronic diseases, including stroke.
Eating more green, leafy vegetables, beans, and whole grains, while cutting back on added sugars and refined grains slashes stroke risk by 10%, according to a study published in Neurology.
Your vascular health is our top priority. To learn more ways to lower stroke risk and discuss your vascular health, give us a call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chadda. We have offices located in Hudson, Brooksville, and Land O’ Lakes, Florida. You can book over the phone or online. We offer in-person and telehealth appointments.