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Eight ways to keep stroke at bay

Written by ANI |Updated : February 5, 2015 4:18 PM IST

StrokeQuitting smoke, limiting alcohol, eating more fruits and vegetables, and keeping your weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar in check, can lower your likelihood of stroke. Still, there are eight lesser-known ways to protect yourself; based on research, ABC News reported.Here are some ways you can keep strokes at bay:

Take a walk

Walk 20 minutes a day. We know you work, you have kids, errands to run, dinner to make, and an episode of Mad Men to watch, but make the time. Even if you break it up into two 10-minute sessions, it's worth it. Walking a total of 2 hours a week can cut your stroke risk by 30 percent, according to a large study of nearly 40,000 women, conducted over a 12-year period. Walk briskly (so you can talk but not sing) and your chances are reduced by almost 40 percent.

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Learn to recognise depression

Know the difference between sad and depressed. To feel sad during major life crises like the death of a loved one, losing a job or the ending of a relationship is normal. Depression on the other hand is a condition where there is prolonged sadness and an individual's mood isn't tied to life events. The latter makes you 29 percent more likely to suffer from stroke, says a new study of more than 80,000 women. Depressed women tend to smoke more, weigh more and exercise less; plus, they're more likely to have uncontrolled medical issues, like high blood pressure and diabetes, which can also increase stroke risk. Recognize depression symptoms and you can get proper treatment.

Talk to your doctor if you: feel persistent sadness, anxiousness, or 'emptiness'; hopeless; guilty, worthless or helpless; irritable; exhausted; if you lose interest in things you used to like; can't concentrate or sleep; overeat or lose your appetite; think about suicide or have aches and pains that don't go away even with treatment.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of depression.

Get the right amount of sleep

Set your alarm for 7 hours of sleep. More than 10 a night in la-la land may increase your stroke risk by up to 63 percent, compared with the recommended 7-hour stretch, scientists at Harvard claim. And if you're especially loud in bed while snoring, that is studies suggest you're twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that raises your risk of stroke, as well as heart disease and diabetes.

Switch to olive oil

Make olive oil your go-to ingredient for sauteing, baking, frying, drizzling, and all other food-related ings. You know it helps lower your risk of heart attacks; new research now shows it extends its protective branch to strokes as well. An observational study of more than 7,600 French adults age 65 and older found that those who regularly use olive oil cut their chance of stroke by just over 40 percent.

Mind the migraine

Those extra-special headaches particularly the ones that come with flashes of light and blind spots appear linked to a higher stroke risk in women; and as an added bonus, most migraine-sufferers are women, thanks in part to hormonal fluctuations and medications. Though there's no clear proof that indicates treating a migraine means no stroke, experts agree it's reasonable to try and reduce their frequency. Talk with your doctor she may prescribe preventive meds or suggest stress management techniques.

Don't ignore irregular heartbeats

Pay attention to palpitations especially if the heart flutters occur with shortness of breath, light-headedness, and chest pain those are all signs of atrial fibrillation (AF), an abnormal heartbeat that boosts risk of stroke about five-fold.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Eat potassium rich food

Eat sweet potatoes and raisins and bananas and tomato paste. Not all on the same plate but individually, each is loaded with potassium and a diet rich in foods with this nutrient may reduce stroke risk by 20 percent, suggests a recent report. More good sources: fruits and veggies, fish, poultry, and dairy.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of stroke.

Lengthen that short fuse

A study published in the journal Hypertension suggests that angry and aggressive people may be at a higher risk of stroke.

Use the handy mnemonic FAST to recognize the symptoms:

F (face): uneven smile, facial droopiness, numbness, vision disturbance

A (arm and leg): weakness, numbness, difficulty walking

S (speech): slurred, inappropriate words, mute

T (time): Realize that time is critical. If you notice any of the above symptoms, immediately call 911 studies show that you get faster care if you arrive at the hospital in an ambulance than if someone drives you. With strokes, time lost is brain lost simple as that.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.

With inputs from ANI

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