While a stroke may seem highly unlikely in a young person, the truth is that there is no such thing as being too young to suffer a stroke. The risk of having a stroke increases with age, but doctors are seeing more young adults and even children suffering from “young strokes.”
In patients over the age of 40, strokes are most commonly due to premature atherosclerosis, the same disease which causes heart attacks and the hardening of the arteries. Strokes in younger patients require a different approach to treatment, because the causes are usually different. A stroke can be devastating to a patient and to their loved ones. Recent research has shown that younger stroke survivors are at a greater risk of premature death.
Knowing how to prevent a stroke at a young age may in fact come down to life or death.
Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of a stroke!
1. Stop Smoking
Smoking increases your risk of blood clotting, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure, which is the biggest risk factor for a stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. And even if you’ve been smoking for years, it’s never too late to stop. Smoking can greatly increase the risk of multiple health problems, from strokes to lung cancer.
2. Stay Active
Exercising regularly can work wonders for stroke prevention. Working out can help lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss. Obesity and inactivity are associated with hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, which increase the risk of a stroke. Try to exercise or do something active five times a week. Walk the dog, go for a jog, take a bike ride… Choose whatever form of exercise you prefer, just make sure you’re staying active.
3. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol use has been linked to strokes in many studies. Excessive alcohol use can increase blood pressure and raise the risk of a stroke. If you drink, limit yourself to one drink a day at the most. Alcohol abuse is linked to many other health problems. If alcohol is a problem for you, it may be time to stop drinking altogether, before your health starts to suffer.
4. Monitor Blood Pressure
Hypertension is the greatest risk factor for a stroke. If your blood pressure is high, don’t ignore it. See a health care professional. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and cutting back on sodium may help to move your blood pressure back to normal.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Avoiding processed foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats can help to reduce your risk of a stroke. Stick to a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. To cut back on salt, try flavoring your food with different herbs and spices. Your body will thank you for keeping out unwanted chemicals, preservatives and additives.
Suffering a stroke is a medical emergency, no matter what age the patient. Watch the video below for more information about the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and how to react if you or someone you know may be experiencing one.