Reduce the Risk of Stroke with Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle

Human BrainMen can most definitely reduce their risk of stroke. This can be achieved by living a healthy lifestyle. Anyone who is serious about avoiding a stroke needs to eat a healthy diet (more often than not), and get regular exercise – regularly.

Stroke preventative measures will also require not smoking and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.

The Grim Facts of Stroke

Strokes don’t happen so often in middle-aged men, that being aged 45 to 65. Your risk of having a stroke in the prime of life is just 1 in 250. But if you do have a stroke, there is a 25% chance that you will die within 24 hours even with the best emergency medical treatment. There is a 20% chance that you will die within one year even with successful initial treatment.

And there is nearly a 100% chance that you will have to deal with lasting neurological impairment if you do suffer a stroke. Previously, strokes were known as cerebrovascular accidents (or CVA’s). Today however, they are commonly referred to as “stroke”.

There are 2 common kinds of strokes.

1. The Ischemic Stroke (most common)

Ischemic stroke occurs when a part of the brain is deprived of oxygen as a clot blocks a blood vessel. The absence of oxygen does not cause immediate death of brain tissue. Brain cells die when they are unable to make the energy they need to pump out sodium. Excess sodium draws in water and cells literally pop open.

2. The Hemorrhagic Stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood clot (which causes an ischemic stroke) breaks and red blood cells leak out of an area of brain that initially had not been deprived of circulation. Hemorrhagic strokes may occur when “clot busters” are used improperly, or due to natural processes 2 to 14 days after ischemic stroke.

Hemorrhagic strokes do not always cause loss of brain function.

What puts a Man at Risk for a Stroke? (see video below for audio visual presentation)

Understanding Strokes

The controllable risk factors for strokes in men include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). Blood vessels under high pressure tend to be narrow and more easily blocked by clots.
  • High cholesterol. The relationship between high cholesterol and hardening of the arteries is not direct. Cholesterol does not harden into an atherosclerotic plaque unless free radicals activate certain white blood cells, which are what actually harden. A combination of high cholesterol and high BP greatly increases the risk of stroke.
  • High homocysteine. This inflammatory chemical can irritate the linings of blood vessels in the brain. High homocysteine usually results from inadequate vitamin B6 and B12.

Irregular Heart Rhythms

About 20% of strokes occur after a blood clot is created in the heart and circulates to the brain. Irregular heart rhythms, especially a kind of irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, can result in clots that cause strokes.

The single most important thing any man can do to avoid a stroke is to keep his blood pressure under good control. If you keep your blood pressure down, then the effects of high cholesterol and high homocysteine are far less severe.

But if you experience symptoms of a stroke, the single most important thing a man can do to survive with minimal brain damage is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible.

How to Recognize the Signs of Stroke

Many men who have had strokes described a pain as the most severe headache ever. Others, however, experience only subtle symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision that is worse on one side than the other.
  • Loss of grip strength in one hand but not both.
  • Sudden loss of verbal fluency.
  • Sudden inability to understand speech or symbols.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sudden changes in emotional state along with other symptoms listed above.

If you have any of these symptoms, especially severe headache, don’t wait to see if the problem passes. Get seen right away. Getting treatment during the first 4 hours after a stroke may be eligible for thrombolytic (clot buster) treatment that may prevent future complications.

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BY ROBERT RISTER | 50ish Site Contributor
Robert Rister is a senior health writer here at

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