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A "FAST" Response to Stroke Can Reduce Long-Term Damage
Date:5/7/2013

en the artery. For all treatment options, early intervention can improve outcomes.

Stroke Prevention Tips
Taking the time to make a few simple lifestyle adjustments can save thousands of lives each year.

"Stroke statistics are sobering: it's the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of adult disabilities," says Dr. Babak Navi, director of the Stroke Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "On average, someone dies of stroke every four minutes. The good news is that approximately 80 percent of strokes can be prevented."

Several lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of having a stroke:

  • Reduce salt intake. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of stroke. Cutting back on salt is one of the most significant steps to maintaining or lowering blood pressure to a healthy level of 120/80 or below. Try flavoring your food with a variety of spices that may be healthier than salt.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy balance between your good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) is the best way to prevent high cholesterol, heart disease and the increased risk of stroke. Cholesterol levels should remain at 200 mg/dl or below.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking is bad not only for your lungs but your brain as well. A smoker is at twice the risk of having a stroke because smoking damages blood vessels, raises blood pressure and speeds up the clogging of arteries.
  • Exercise. If you are obese or overweight, your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes increases and so does your risk for a stroke. Extra weight places an added strain on your entire circulatory system, but aerobic exercise helps reduce stroke risk and can be a good way to lose those extra pounds and substantially improve your health.

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