Still, there are eight lesser-known ways to protect yourself, based on research, ABC News reported.
1. Walk 20 minutes a day: We know-you work, you have kids, errands to run, dinner to make, and a series on TV to watch, but make the time. Even if you break it up into two 10-minute sessions, it`s worth it. Walking a total of 2 hours a week can cut your stroke risk by 30 percent, according to a large study of nearly 40,000 women, conducted over a 12-year period. Walk briskly (so you can talk but not sing) and your chances are reduced by almost 40 percent.
2. Know the difference between sad and depressed: The latter makes you 29 percent more likely to suffer from stroke, says a new study of more than 80,000 women. Depressed people tend to smoke more, weigh more and exercise less; plus, they`re more likely to have uncontrolled medical issues, like high blood pressure and diabetes, which can also increase stroke risk. Recognize depression symptoms and you can get proper treatment. Talk to your doctor if you: feel persistent sadness, anxiousness, or “emptiness”; hopeless; guilty, worthless or helpless; irritable; exhausted; if you lose interest in things you used to like; can`t concentrate or sleep; overeat or lose your appetite; think about suicide or have aches and pains that don`t go away even with treatment.
3. Set your alarm for 7 hours of sleep: More than 10 a night in la-la land may increase your stroke risk by up to 63 percent, compared with the recommended 7-hour stretch, scientists at Harvard claim. And if you`re especially loud in bed-while snoring, that is-studies suggest you`re twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that raises your risk of stroke, as well as heart disease and diabetes.
3. Include olive oil in your diet: Make olive oil your go-to ingredient for sauteing, baking, frying, drizzling, and all other food-related things. You know it helps lower your risk of heart attacks; new research now shows it extends its protective branch to strokes as well. An observational study of more than 7,600 French adults age 65 and older found that those who regularly use olive oil cut their chance of stroke by just over 40 percent.
4. Mind the migraine: Those extra-special headaches-particularly the ones that come with flashes of light and blind spots-appear linked to a higher stroke risk in women; and as an added bonus, most migraine-sufferers are women, thanks in part to hormonal fluctuations and medications. Though there`s no clear proof that indicates treating a migraine means no stroke, experts agree it`s reasonable to try and reduce their frequency. Talk with your doctor-she may prescribe preventive meds or suggest stress management techniques.
5. Pay attention to palpitations especially if the heart flutters occur with shortness of breath, light headedness, and chest pain-those are all signs of atrial fibrillation (AF), an abnormal heartbeat that boosts risk of stroke about five-fold.
6. Eat potassium rich foods:Eat sweet potatoes and raisins and bananas and tomato paste. Not all on the same plate but individually, each is loaded with potassium-and a diet rich in foods with this nutrient may reduce stroke risk by 20 percent, suggests a recent report. More good sources: fruits and veggies, fish, poultry, and dairy.
7. Lengthen that short fuse: A study published in the journal Hypertension suggests that angry and aggressive people may be at a higher risk of stroke.
Use the handy mnemonic FAST to recognize the symptoms:
F (face): uneven smile, facial droopiness, numbness, vision disturbance.
A (arm and leg): weakness, numbness, difficulty walking
S (speech): slurred, inappropriate words, mute
T (time): Realize that time is critical. If you notice any of the above symptoms, immediately see a physician.
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