Lifestyle Changes to Manage Stroke

Part of your stroke treatment will include lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of having another stroke . You should also follow up with your neurologist.

General Guidelines for Preventing Another Stroke

If You Smoke, Quit

Extensive research has established smoking as a risk factor for stroke and heart attack . If you smoke, ask your doctor about strategies to quit . You should also avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A dietlow in saturated fat , trans fat, and cholesterol, and rich in whole grains , fruits, and vegetables will help lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body weight—three stroke risk factors. Ask your doctor or dietitian for a balanced meal plan.

Exercise Regularly

Follow your doctor’s recommendations for physical activity. Choose enjoyable exercises that are safe for you. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthy weight. For most people, this could include walking briskly or participating in another aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes per day. If you have had an ischemic stroke or TIA, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes 1-3 times per week. Talk to your doctor before starting a program.

Lose Weight, If You Are Overweight or Obese

Being overweight or obese is associated with higher risk of stroke. Losing weight lowers that risk. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than you expend. To maintain a healthy weight , eat an equal number of calories as you expend.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

Excessive alcohol intake raises your risk of stroke. It appears that moderate alcohol intake actually reduces the risk. Studies suggest that one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Experts agree that if you do not already drink alcohol, you do not need to start because of this recommendation. If you do drink alcohol, talk with your doctor to determine how much is healthy for you.

Treat High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the top risk factors for stroke. Lowering your blood pressure can lower your risk of recurrent stroke or another vascular event by up to 40%. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for lowering your blood pressure. You may need to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a healthier diet and limiting your alcohol consumption. You may also need to take medicines to lower your blood pressure.

Treat High Cholesterol

High total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol can increase your risk of stroke. If you have had a stroke and have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend that you make lifestyle changes, like eating a more healthy diet and increasing your physical activity. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to lower your cholesterol.

If You Have Diabetes, Manage Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes , you are at increased risk of vascular disease. The better you control your blood sugar levels, the slower vascular disease (and other complications) will advance. Work with your doctor and a dietitian to develop a diet and exercise plan that will help you control your blood sugar.

Revisions

All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.

Every minute counts if you suspect someone is having a stroke. Immediate treatment saves lives and increases the chances for a successful recovery. Don’t wait. Call 911.