Posted on Dec 15, 2014, 6 a.m.
Healthy diet, along with regular physical activity and blood pressure management, can markedly lower a person’s risk of a first-time stroke.
Abundant in, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, poultry and fish while limited in red meat and foods containing saturated fats, both the Mediterranean-style and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension; which limits sodium intake) are important dietary approaches that form the basis of a lifestyle to lower a person’s risk of a first-time stroke. James Meschia, from Mayo Clinic (Florida, USA), and colleagues issued updated guidelines for the prevention of stroke among individuals who have not previously experienced a stroke or transient ischemic attack. The updated guidelines include:
• Eat a Mediterranean or DASH-style diet, supplemented with nuts.
• Monitor high blood pressure at home with a cuff device.
• Keep pre-hypertension from becoming high blood pressure by making lifestyle changes such as getting more physical activity, eating a healthy diet and managing your weight.
• Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet; sodium is found mostly in salt.
• Visit your healthcare provider annually for blood pressure evaluation.
• If your medication to lower blood pressure doesn't work or has bad side effects, talk to your healthcare provider about finding a combination of drugs that work for you.
• Don't smoke. Smoking and taking oral birth control pills can significantly increase your stroke risk. If you're a woman who experiences migraines with aura, smoking raises your risk of stroke even more than in the general population.
The lead author observes that: "In many instances, stroke isn't fatal, but it leads to years of physical, emotional and mental impairment that could be avoided."
Meschia JF, Bushnell C, Boden-Albala B, et al; American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology, and Council on Hypertension. “Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a statement for healthcare professionals from the american heart association/american stroke association.” Stroke. 2014 Dec;45(12):3754-832.