A smoker’s risk of having a stroke is double the risk of non-smokers. Smoking reduces blood flow, making it more likely that you’ll have a blockage. ThedaCare offers programs to help you overcome smoking and reverse the negative effects of tobacco.
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Reduce Your Cholesterol
The higher your total cholesterol, the higher your chances of having a stroke. Choose foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat to keep your total blood cholesterol level under 200. There are also medications that can help, if diet alone is not enough.
Control Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common risk factor for stroke. Reducing stress, eating healthy, and exercising will help keep your blood pressure in check, but there are also medications that provide extra help if you need it.
It can be hard to fit exercise into your schedule, but even mild to moderate amounts of physical activity can have a big impact on your health. Start making exercise a part of your daily life. Go for walk, garden, take the stairs instead of the elevator—even the smallest changes make a difference.
Change Your Diet
You don’t need to give up all the foods you love, but making healthy changes to your diet, like choosing vitamin-rich foods low in cholesterol and fat, benefits your whole body.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight puts significant strain on your heart and blood vessels, and can make other risk factors worse, such as diabetes. Eating right and exercising regularly can help shed extra pounds. But if diet and exercise aren’t enough, ThedaCare offers bariatric surgery options that can help you overcome obesity.
Life is often stressful—sometimes we just can’t avoid it. But consistent stress and anger can have damaging effects that could lead to stroke and heart problems. Manage stress by learning relaxation techniques or asking for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you need support, ThedaCare offers behavioral health services to help you cope with stress.
Learn more about ThedaCare’s behavioral health services