by Matthew Boyle, COO, Landmark Senior Living
In part two of my blog focused on stroke education, I will discuss things people can do to reduce their chance of stroke.
While you can’t reverse the advancement of age, you can take several precautionary measures to ensure that risk of stroke is severely lessened. If you know that you may be more susceptible to a specific cause of strokes, you should work with a licensed medical professional to develop a plan that addresses this.
Here are the most common causes and preventative measures for strokes:
- High Blood Pressure
- Frequent Tobacco Usage
- Heart Disease
- High Weight and Infrequent Exercise
- Blood Thinning Medication
- Old Age
- Family History
Preventative Measures: Strokes are a reality for many over the age of 65, but not inevitable. Here are several ways you can significantly reduce your chances of stroke as an elderly person.
Lower Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is the number one leading contributor to strokes in adults. Doctors recommend maintaining a blood pressure of less than 135/85 to be safe. If this is too aggressive, a goal closer to 140/90 may be suitable. Having a lower blood pressure not only reduces your chance of stroke, but increases your overall heart health significantly. You can reduce your blood pressure by reducing salt intake, avoiding high cholesterol foods, eating fruits and veggies, getting more exercise, and quitting smoking.
Lose Weight: Obesity is a significant factor directly related to strokes. If you’re overweight, losing as few as 10 pounds can have a real impact on your risk of stroke. Following a better health and fitness for seniors regimen is the first step to lowering your weight. However, having a balanced, moderated diet is the best way to ensure you lose weight. Doctors recommend eating no more than 1500-2000 calories per day, and making exercise, even if its low intensity, a daily habit.
Avoid Drinking: Drinking alcohol in extreme moderation is good for you, but as most people know, anything outside of 1-2 per day does nothing good for your health. Your goal for lowering risk of stroke should be to aim for little to no alcohol consumption. If you do drink, pick up the red wine, and keep it to 1-2 glasses per day. For reference, a standard sized drink is a 5 ounce glass of wine, 12 ounce beer, or 1.5 ounce of hard liquor.
Quit Smoking: Smoking raises your risk of stroke because it contributes to plaque build up and thickens the blood. Quitting smoking can also raise your overall health and fitness, which will contribute to lowering your chance of stroke. Quitting smoking is one of the best options to preventing a stroke in the elderly.
At Landmark Senior Living, our goal is to create the utmost in independent living for every one of our senior housing residents. Our independent living program is tailored to each individual’s needs and includes robust daily exercise, yoga, & strength training classes available for seniors to become as healthy as possible. Our broad range of activities and events will help you to take care of your mental and physical health.
To read part one of this blog, Stroke 101: What is a Stroke and What Are the Signs, please click here.