Make May Purple is the Stroke Association’s annual stroke awareness month and stroke, like heart disease, can potentially be avoided by making simple lifestyle changes.
Certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, diabetes and irregular heartbeat and lifestyle factors, such as a bad diet, drinking alcohol, smoking and inactivity increase your risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack.
Untreated your high blood pressure is the biggest single risk factor for stroke. It is often called the ‘silent killer’ because it can be symptomless, but is a major risk factor as it can damage the arteries and cause heart attacks and stroke.
Follow our 5 lifestyle tips to lead a healthier, happier longer life and help reduce your risk of having a stroke or a heart attack:
1. Eat less salt - choose natural rather than processed foods, which often contain hidden salt, and don’t add salt at the table.
2. Eat 5 a day - fruit and veg contain potassium, which counters the effect of sodium and will help control blood pressure.
3. Limit alcohol intake as this increases blood pressure over time - the recommended guidelines for both men and women is no more than 14 units per week.
4. Keep active - regular exercise can halve your risk of having a stroke. Just 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week will help to keep arteries flexible and lower blood pressure. You don’t have to do it all in one go – it is just as effective to exercise a few times a day in 10- or 15- minute sessions.
5. Give up smoking - smoking thickens the blood making it more likely to clot. Stopping will reduce your risk of a stroke, heart disease and many other health conditions as well as benefitting your bank balance.