According to statistics from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, stroke survivors have a 40 percent chance of experiencing a second vascular incident within the first five years after having the first event. Approximately 33 percent of strokes in the United States are second events. However, according to the La Mesa elderly home care experts at Coast Care Partners, there are many tactics stroke survivors should consider adopting to reduce the risk of future incidents.
Make Dietary Changes
Seniors should think about changing their eating habits to coincide with the older adults living in the Mediterranean region of Europe. There, elderly citizens typically eat meals consisting mainly of vegetables and fruits. Seniors should switch to olive oil for cooking and salads, limit red meat consumption to once a week, and increase the number of fish and poultry servings. Eggs and low-fat or fat-free dairy products are also allowed, as are nuts and whole grains. It’s important to resist processed baked goods, meats, and prepared meals, which are notorious for being high in fat, salt, and sugar. These foods raise blood pressure and inflammation levels.
Physical activity strengthens the cardiovascular system and increases blood flow throughout the body. Even walking on a daily basis helps first-time stroke survivors recover more quickly. Walking costs nothing and can be accomplished anywhere and at any time. Seniors can walk with family or friends and enjoy the social aspects of the activity.
Seniors who are overweight often consume diets rich in fat, which raises the fat content of the body and the level of cholesterol in the blood. High cholesterol leads to plaque formation, which increases blood pressure in weakened blood vessels. Excess weight also puts more strain on the cardiovascular system, which raises blood pressure and heart rate.
The chemical compounds used to process tobacco products, along with nicotine, constrict blood vessels, which raises blood pressure and heart rate. Blood vessels weaken and become more susceptible to damage. Smoking also interferes with the respiratory system’s ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
Take Prescription Medications
Seniors with cardiovascular disease often must take various medications to control blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rate, or blood sugar levels. Missing or reducing doses increases the likelihood of having another stroke. Seniors should take their medications as directed and keep up with follow-up appointments to ensure the drugs are doing what they are designed to do.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Having too many alcoholic beverages within a 24-hour period raises the risk of having another stroke by 50 percent. A study published in BMC Medicine indicates that men who consume more than two drinks per day and women who have more than one alcoholic beverage per day increase their likelihood of having a hemorrhagic stroke or a subarachnoid stroke. Drinking more than the recommended limitations raises blood pressure. Alcohol also interferes with blood-clotting ability. These two factors set the stage for rupturing weakened blood vessels.
If your loved one has had a stroke, there are measures that may reduce the risk of another one. If your loved one needs assistance with implementing these lifestyle changes, help is available. Reach out to us at Coast Care Partners if you need compassionate, professional in-home care. La Mesa residents should call us today at 619-354-2544 to learn about the high quality of our home care services.