By Eliz Greene Alarming results in a recent study indicate strokes among middle-aged women have tripled. Heart attack-survivor Eliz Greene provides insight on the trend and tips to reduce your risk of stroke.
Most 35-year-old women would consider themselves safe from the risk of stroke, but a new study indicates they should be worried. Strokes in women ages 35 to 54 have tripled sending a wake-up call to us all. Women’s waistlines have increased by two inches over the last decade and doctors believe the rise in strokes is directly related to an increase in obesity in the same age group.
How can you control your risk of stroke?
Maintain a healthy weight.
When you maintain a healthy weight your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are likely to be in control as well. Give your body what it needs by:
- Moving more: Just three 10-minute walks per day can make a big difference in your health. Take a lap around the parking lot before you go into work. Stalk the halls at lunch. Take a victory lap and say good night to everyone on your way out the door. Move more every day and decrease your risk.
- Shun the sweetener: Studies have shown artificial sweeteners trick the body into producing more fat. Avoid packaged foods with artificial sweeteners and put away the packets! Tips to shun the sweetener.
- Skip the soda: Researchers contend the obesity epidemic could be stopped if we just curtailed soda drinking. Consider soda a sweet-treat rather than beverage and drink it sparingly.
- Munch on fruits, nuts, and veggies: Fill up on a big salad, a healthy apple, or a handful of almonds and avoid packaged and processed foods. Natural foods pack in nutrients and do not have added sugar and salt which cause your body to retain more fat. Tips for better eating.
Breathe clean air.
Especially if you are on the pill or patch for birth control, smoking and secondhand smoke dramatically increases your risk of stroke. The good new is your health begins to improve the day you quit! More information and resources to quit.
Check your blood sugar.
Diabetes more than doubles your risk of stroke, but did you know even slightly elevated blood sugar levels increase your risk? Visit your doctor and evaluate your risk.
Control your blood pressure.
Known as the silent killer, uncontrolled blood pressure is one of the leading causes of stroke. Have your blood pressure checked and seek treatment if your top number is greater than 120 and your bottom number is greater than 80. Even small increases in blood pressure are damaging.
Manage your cholesterol.
Too much “bad” cholesterol (LDL) builds up in your blood vessels and causes clots and blockages. Get tested and be vigilant in reducing your “bad” cholesterol and maintaining your “good” cholesterol.
Stress is a major risk factor for stroke. Take at least five minutes per day to be still, breathe deeply, and release the stress of your day.
Know the signs.
Do your best to reduce your risk and avoid a stroke, but if you have the symptoms of a stroke you must also act quickly to survive and recover well. Ask yourself, or someone you encounter, three questions to determine if it is time to call 911:
- Can you smile?
- Can you say your name?
- Can you raise BOTH hands over your head?
A no to any one of the three questions indicates trouble. Call 911 and start getting the right kind of help immediately.
For more Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Busy People visit Eliz’s blog at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.
Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age thirty-five while seven-months pregnant with twins. She is a heart health educator, freelance writer, and speaker on a mission to help busy people lead healthier lives.