HEALTHY HEART BLOG

The power of habit to help prevent strokes

The power of habit to help prevent strokes

The human heart is the organ in charge of pumping blood around the body, including to your brain. When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, brain cells stop receiving oxygen and end up being damaged. This phenomenon is known as a stroke and can happen for two main reasons: blockage of the artery that supplies blood to the brain or the rupture of a cerebral blood vessel.

According to the World Health Organization, 4 out of 5 deaths from cardiovascular problems occur from strokes, and 1 out of 3 of these deaths occur in people under 70 years of age. Some of the most common symptoms are facial paralysis, signs of weakness when raising the arms, and speaking difficulty. However symptoms can vary from person to person for more information visit stroke.org.

Strokes can bring many difficulties in the short and long term. That is why maintaining a good exercise routine, healthy eating habits, staying away from alcohol and smoking, and monitoring your blood pressure regularly can be the best strategy to help reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Exercise routine – Join the movement

It is very common to hear doctors and medical experts talk about the importance of exercising to maintain good health and reduce your risk of strokes. However, many times the problem is not exercising, but finding motivation and establishing a routine. Planning what days to exercise, how many hours per session, and which activities you will be doing is a good way to plan your time and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

For those who prefer to exercise with other people, it can be beneficial to create an exercise community with your family and friends. Thus exercising becomes a group activity and a good opportunity to socialize and meet new people. At the same time, for animal lovers, having a pet offers a good opportunity to go for a walk and exercise daily. In this way, both you and your loved ones will be exercising and staying active and healthy.

Mediterranean diet – Less meat, more grains, and vegetables

In 2008, a study from the University of Florence in Italy showed that those who maintained a Mediterranean diet were more likely to live longer and less likely to die from stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s. Changing your diet and incorporating Mediterranean dishes can be a great step to reduce fat consumption, avoid blockages in the arteries, maintain good blood flow, and help avoid having a stroke. You can start by incorporating these dishes a couple of times a week and increase the frequency according to your personal taste.

A Mediterranean diet includes all five food groups. It is based on the typical products of the Mediterranean region such as fruits, wholegrains, vegetables, fish, as well as derivatives from plants and vegetables such as olive oil. For those who enjoy meat-based dishes, this diet includes it in smaller quantities. Among the types of recommended meats, you can find white meats (such as chicken and other poultry) due to their low fat and cholesterol content.

Smoking and drinking – Leaving behind old habits

How can you leave bad habits behind and replace them with new and healthier ones? Typically we tend to smoke and drink alcohol when we socialize, celebrate an occasion, or to calm stress and anxiety. Although we know and hear constantly that these habits are the main causes of strokes and other diseases such as cancer, why do we continue to do so? The truth is that smoking and drinking generate pleasure in your brain. If you want to stop consuming these, you will have to replace them with others that generate a similar effect and that are healthy at the same time.

Replacing a cigarette or alcohol is not an easy task. First, you have to find something that gives you the same pleasure and gradually incorporate it into your daily life until it completely replaces those harmful habits. However, there have been cases where people have a high level of willpower and quit smoking or drinking alcohol without having to replace them.

Monitor your blood pressure – Stay healthy at home

You are responsible for your heart health. It is in your hands to develop routines and habits that allow you to maintain good health, exercise, create a low-fat diet, and avoid alcohol and smoking. You also have the responsibility to monitor your heart regularly and stay informed about your heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure.

Measuring your blood pressure is key to preventing strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. QardioArm is an easy-to-use smart blood pressure monitor that allows you to take measurements whenever and wherever you want. With it, you can control your blood pressure instantly without having to go to the doctor’s office. QardioArm is the ideal device for those looking to understand their cardiovascular health instantly and conveniently.


Sources

British Heart Foundation

World Health Organization

NHS UK

Last updated: October 22, 2020