If your family has a history of strokes, you may worry about your own health more often than you’d like. The average age for a stroke is 65 and above, but many people can have one earlier if they have a family history or make certain unhealthy lifestyle choices. To beat the odds and lower your risk of a stroke, here are five things you can do.

Manage Your Weight

Strive for a healthy weight with a body-mass index (BMI) that’s appropriate for your height. Your physician can help you set healthy weight goals. Remember that a healthy weight is not about appearing “skinny” or meeting any type of beauty standard. The body positivity movement often confuses people as to what a “healthy weight” really means. In short, it’s a weight that lowers your risk for a variety of factors that can increase the risk of a stroke such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Eat lean meats like chicken and turkey over pork and beef, and make sure that the majority of your diet consists of fruits and vegetables. The Mayo Clinic’s stroke prevention tips state that five servings of fruits and vegetables each day can lower your risk of a stroke.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Abstinence from alcohol is the best way to avoid high blood pressure and decrease your risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Street drugs, particularly stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines, also raise the risk of a stroke.

If you do decide to drink, only consume a small amount. Responsible drinking not only helps reduce your stroke risk but also contributes to a healthier body weight, better sleep, and a lowered risk of heart disease.

Work With Your Doctor

Working with a doctor who has experience treating higher risk patients can help you manage your conditions in a way that provides present relief and future risk reduction. You may want to consider researching a locum tenens stroke doctor in your city if who can work with you to monitor and lower your risk.

Practice Stress Reduction

Higher stress levels contribute to elevated blood pressure, poor sleep quality, and weight gain, all of which can increase your risk of a stroke. Find healthy ways to lower stress in your daily life. Routine exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and gratitude practices are all practical ways to lower stress and improve your mental health along with lowering your stroke risk.

You can’t help a family history of strokes or other medical conditions, but you can lower your risk by making healthy lifestyle choices. Exercise and diet are important, but you should also work with a doctor as well. Work on lowering your alcohol consumption and your stress levels to maintain a healthier body and protect it in the future.

About the author

Anita Ginsburg

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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