Have you ever seen someone that had a stroke? It is an ailment that could be prevented even though age makes people more prone to it.

Family background also plays a role, but there are certain things an individual can do to reduce the risk of having a stroke.

"Knowledge is power," says Dr. Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Acute Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital.

They recommended seven things that you could do to reduce your risk of having a stroke.

1.     Keep Your Blood Pressure In Check

A retired Reproductive Medicine consultant at the University College Hospital, (UCH) Ibadan, Professor Modupe Onadeko, had said that seven out of 10 Nigerians were hypertensive.

She also stated that 50% of these seven are unaware of their condition and the remaining half are just not bothered to seek medical help to treat this condition.

Blood Pressure machine

This is the more reason you should be concerned.

High blood pressure is a huge factor as far as stroke is concerned.

It doubles or even quadruples your stroke risk if it is not controlled. "High blood pressure is the biggest contributor to the risk of stroke in both men and women," Dr. Rost says. "Monitoring blood pressure and, if it is elevated, treating it, is probably the biggest difference people can make to their vascular health."

The doctor suggests that you maintain a blood pressure of less than 135/85.

Here are a few things to do to reduce your blood pressure.

·         Reduce the salt in your diet to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about a half teaspoon).

·         Avoid high-cholesterol foods, such as burgers, cheese, and ice cream.

·         Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, one serving of fish two to three times a week, and several daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy.

2. Maintain A Weight In Line With Your BMI

Weight is one factor that contributes to stroke and this is why doctors recommend that you know your BMI and then keep your weight in check.

You can use applications to check your Body Max Index (BMI) which doctors recommend should be 25 or less.

If you still do not know how to calculate it, ask your doctor.

Eating less than 2,000 calories per day [depending on your activity level and current BMI) will be just one way to begin

3. Exercise more

Women exercising

The place of exercise in an individual's daily routine will never be over emphasised, as it helps in losing weight and lowering blood pressure.

Exercise also stands on its own as an independent stroke reducer.

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4. Moderate Alcohol Intake If You Drink

Drinking a little alcohol may decrease your risk of stroke.

"Studies show that if you have about one drink per day, your risk may be lower," says to Dr. Rost. "Once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up very sharply."

5. Treat Atrial Fibrillation

According to the Doctor of Harvard Medical School, Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat that causes clots to form in the heart.

Those clots can then travel to the brain, producing a stroke.

"Atrial fibrillation carries almost a five-fold risk of stroke, and should be taken seriously," Dr. Rost says.

The doctor recommends that you should go for treatment if you have atrial fibrillation.

6. If You Have Diabetes, Treat It

Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels over time, making clots more likely to form inside them.

Keeping your blood sugar under control is one way to reduce risk.

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You can achieve this by monitoring your blood sugar as directed by your doctor.

Use diet, exercise, and medicines to keep your blood sugar within the recommended range.

7. Quit Smoking

Smoking accelerates clot formation in a couple of different ways. It thickens your blood, and it increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries.

"Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, smoking cessation is one of the most powerful lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your stroke risk significantly," Dr. Rost says.

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