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It’s staggering to think that around 50 percent of stroke cases are preventable. The Stroke Association warned that the catastrophic event occurs every five minutes in the UK.

The charity Think Ahead Stroke provided five key lifestyle guides to minimise your risk.

Diet

One of the best ways to prevent a stroke is to eat a healthy diet, which will lower the chances of three health conditions strongly linked with a stroke:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

This means you need to eat a “low-fat, high-fibre diet” as much as possible.

Foods to reduce:

  • Salt
  • Fish tinned in brine and smoked fish
  • Canned and salted meat, bacon and sausages
  • Butter, oils, full-fat spreads and cream
  • Hard cheese
  • Crisps and dips
  • Salted nuts
  • Sweet biscuits
  • Packet soups, stock cubes and sauces
  • Chips, pastries and cakes
  • Sweetened or high-salt cereals, lasix im such as cornflakes
  • Ready meals

Instead, eat more of:

  • Foods flavoured with herbs, spices and lemons
  • Fresh fish, and fish tinned in water
  • Eggs
  • Lean meat, such as chicken and turkey
  • Small amounts of olive oil and rapeseed oil
  • Cottage cheese
  • Unsalted crackers and nuts
  • Fresh and dried fruit
  • Home-made soups and stocks
  • Potatoes, brown pasta and rice
  • High-fibre or low-salt bread
  • Whole-grain breakfast cereals, such as porridge and unsweetened muesli
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables, beans & lentils

Exercise

Another key prevention tool against a stroke is to engage in regular moderate exercise.

This means being active for 30 to 60 minutes daily, which will “dramatically lower your risk of stroke”.

Don’t smoke

“Smoking doubles your risk of stroke,” warned the charity – stopping late is better than never stopping at all.

Ways to quit

  1. Ask family and friends to support you
  2. Stay away from places where you will be offered cigarettes
  3. Remember the benefits to you and your family
  4. Join a stop smoking group
  5. Use self-help books
  6. Go to your doctor about nicotine replacement on prescription, such as chewing gums, sprays and patches

Drink less

“Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of stroke,” added Think Ahead Stroke.

The charity agrees with current NHS guidelines that stated 14 units per week should be the maximum intake of alcohol.

Spread out across seven days, that’s equivalent to:

  • Seven pints of four percent lager;
  • Or seven glasses of 12 percent wine.

Breaking that down, that’s no more than one glass of wine, or a pint of beer, every day.

Other health conditions

The final lifestyle guidance put forward by the charity is to manage any other health conditions you might currently have.

Examples include diabetes and high blood pressure, which both increase your risk of a stroke.

Healthy living – no matter when you start – is the best preventative tool against a stroke.

The signs of a stroke

Remember to act FAST to call 999 and request an ambulance if you see any of the following:

F – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

A – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

S – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.

T – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Lifelong disability following a stroke occurs as there has been an injury to the brain.

“Some people will need some form of care or help with their daily activities,” said the NHS.

Others are able to regain their former independence, but it can take an extremely long time.

If you’ve been affected by a stroke in any way, you can seek support from Think Ahead Stroke.

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