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Stroke: risk factors and how to prevent it

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability among adults worldwide. Every year, more than 100,000 Ukrainians lose their lives due to a stroke, a third of them are younger than 65 years old. At the same time, strokes in Ukraine continue to "get younger".

The risk of stroke is associated with the following factors:

cardiovascular diseases, in particular arterial hypertension (increased blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg)

use of tobacco and alcohol


elevated blood glucose level

high level of "bad" cholesterol

sedentary lifestyle

At the same time, 80% of strokes can be prevented by influencing the main risk factors, or more precisely, by changing lifestyle.

How to prevent a stroke:

1. Follow a balanced diet. Eat at least 4-5 portions of vegetables and fruits every day (400-600 g per day), limit the intake of salt (up to 5 grams, or no more than a teaspoon per day) and sugar (25-50 g per day), avoid trans fats (industrial pastries, fast food, snacks). Give preference to products with a high fiber content, because they help to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. Drink enough water (30 ml of water per kg of body weight per day).

2. Be physically active. Physical activity improves the condition of the cardiovascular system, stimulates blood circulation, helps control cholesterol, glucose and has a positive effect on body weight. Moderate physical activity for 30 minutes 5 times a week reduces the risk of stroke by 25%. It can be cycling, walking in the fresh air, dancing, yoga. However, be careful with heavy physical activity: if you have certain contraindications, consult your doctor first.

3. Refrain from using tobacco and alcohol. Consumption of alcoholic beverages can contribute to an increase in blood pressure and the occurrence of a number of cardiovascular diseases. Alcohol negatively affects the work of the central nervous system, in particular the brain. Similarly, nicotine in any form (cigarettes, hookahs, electronic smoking devices, etc.) has a detrimental effect on all systems and organs of the body and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and strokes.

4. Control your body weight. A body mass index of more than 25 kg/m2 is a risk factor for the development of diabetes, obesity and their consequences - diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Index calculator at the link - Check the ratio of waist coverage to hip coverage. The norm is less than 0.8 for women, less than 0.95 for men. It is also a marker of risk.

5. Control your blood pressure. And if you already have episodes of high blood pressure, arterial hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases, follow the prescribed treatment. Regular medication significantly reduces the risk of stroke.

6. Check your cholesterol level. This can be done free of charge at your family doctor. If your cholesterol level is high, follow your doctor's recommendations. A high level of cholesterol can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis - the deposition of cholesterol on the inner wall of arteries, which is the main cause of narrowing of blood vessels, impaired blood supply to the brain and can cause a stroke.

7. Watch your blood sugar, because people with diabetes have a higher risk of stroke. Also, if blood glucose levels are high during a stroke, then brain damage is usually more severe than when blood glucose is normal.

Remember: a healthy lifestyle is the best protection against a stroke!


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