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6 Steps to Help Manage Your Stroke Risk

SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Strokes are dangerous, potentially deadly, and can happen to anyone at any time.

A stroke is a brain attack that can cause long-term disability, impair a person’s ability to speak, see or move, and can result in death. If the signs of stroke are present, trust your instincts and call 911 as your quick action can have a lasting impact.

Strokes can strike suddenly without warning and the signs may be subtle and easy to miss. That’s why it’s important to learn the “BE FAST” signs and symptoms of stroke in yourself or the people around you. BE FAST stands for Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech, Time and refers to the common signs of stroke:

Balance: Sudden loss of balance

Eyes: Loss or change of vision in one or both eyes

Face: Face looks uneven or droopy

Arm: Arm or leg is weak or hanging limp

Speech: Slurred speech, trouble speaking or confused speech

Time: Immediately call 911

There are some risk factors – including age, gender, family history, and race – that we can’t control. However, there are ways to help manage your risk. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a major factor in disability in the United States. Know the steps to help you manage your risk:

1. Add color to your diet and skip the salt.


High-sodium diets can increase blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke. Instead of loading up on salt at mealtimes, flavor your food with good-for-you spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Add colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole foods to your diet for optimum nutrition.

2. Get moving.


Inactivity can increase your risk of having a stroke, as well as developing many related chronic illnesses. While the American Stroke Association recommends being active at least 150 minutes a week, the essential thing to remember is to move more and sit less. Talk to your doctor about incorporating physical activity into your routine gradually and safely.

3. Kick the habit.


The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damages the cardiovascular system and can lead to a stroke. Kicking your cigarette habit can reduce your stroke risk and improve your health in a number of other essential ways. Talk to you doctor about treatment options that can help you quit smoking.

4. Slim down.


For those who are overweight or obese, losing even 5 to 10 pounds can make a significant difference in stroke risk. If weight control has been a lifelong challenge, talk to your doctor and start by taking small, sustainable steps to manage your weight.

5. Control the cholesterol.


Large amounts of cholesterol in the blood can build up and cause blood clots, leading to a stroke. To reduce your cholesterol, eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol, and high in fiber. Also, try to have five or more serving of fruits and vegetables per day.

6. Find your zen.


Stress can cause inflammation, hypertension, and or other vascular conditions, all of which can cause stroke. Manage stress with regular exercise, meditation, and self-care. It may also be a good idea to speak to a mental health professional about coping strategies.

Everyone’s risk factors are different. Talk to your doctor to determine how to manage your risk, and visit, developed by Genentech Inc., a member of the Roche Group, for more shareable information on stroke prevention.

While some risk factors for stroke are beyond your control, knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke and taking actions to reduce your risk can help protect you, your friends, and family.

“BE FAST” was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. © 2011 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved.

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