At least one person suffers a brain stroke every 20 seconds in India, and the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate due to changing lifestyle. Prevent or lower your risk with these simple steps.
New Delhi: A stroke is a condition that needs immediate medical attention. Doing so can help minimise brain damage and potential complications. This condition occurs when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked. The good news is that stroke can be treated and prevented. Yet, a recent report revealed that one person suffers a brain stroke every 20 seconds in India, and the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate due to changing lifestyle. That equates to about three persons every minute.
The findings, which were presented at the ongoing 3-day Fourth Congress of Society of Neuro Vascular Intervention (SNVICON) Mumbai 2019, estimated that around 1.54 million people in India are affected by strokes every year. But to make the matter worse, as many as 90 per cent of stroke patients could not reach the hospital on time.
According to health experts, the lifetime risk of stroke after the age of 55 for men is 1 in 6, whereas for women, it is 1 in 5. Just as several factors can increase your risk for stroke, there are many things you can do to lower your chances of having a brain attack. Knowing your risk factors and making healthier lifestyle choices can help prevent a stroke.
What you can do to prevent a stroke
Here are a few steps you can take to avoid or reduce your risk of stroke, regardless of your age or family history:
Diet: One of the best ways to prevent or reduce your risk of health problems like stroke is to eat a healthy, balanced diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. It is recommended that you consume at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day.
An unhealthy diet, particularly foods high in salt, unhealthy fats and added sugar, puts you at an increased risk for stroke and other serious health issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The NHS recommends limiting the amount of salt intake to no more than 6g (about 1 teaspoonful) a day.
Exercise: Regular exercise has been shown to lower cholesterol and keep your blood pressure at a healthy range. At least 150 minutes (about 2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like fast walking or cycling or fast walking per week is recommended for most adults. Along with a healthy diet, being physically active will not only lower your risk of stroke but also help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Adopt healthy habits: It has been proven that smoking increases a person’s risk of having a stroke by narrowing the arteries and making the blood more likely to clot. Quitting smoking or not smoking means you’re reducing your risk of developing serious conditions such as stroke, heart disease and lung cancer while improving your general health.
Similarly, avoid excessive alcohol consumption as this can lead to high blood pressure and trigger an irregular heart beat, both of which can increase your chances of having a stroke. If you do drink, make sure that you do it in moderation- for instance, having no more than one glass of alcohol per day.
Additionally, make sure that you manage any underlying conditions, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with a health problem known to raise your risk of stroke.