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10 tips to avoid getting a stroke

The world economy is in the doldrums and companies are severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. These factors put undue work stress on professionals as they deal with work and families at home.

I would advise everyone to pause for a moment and think about their health.

In Singapore, one in 10 people who has a stroke is younger than 50, at a time when many are at the pinnacle of their careers. The good news is that four out of five strokes are preventable, mainly through simple lifestyle changes.

For many, working from home is likely to continue for a while, so make the most of this opportunity to get stroke smart and take steps to a healthier you.

1. KNOW YOUR STROKE RISK[hhmc]

There are some stroke risk factors you cannot change, such as growing older and certain heart and blood conditions, but the majority can be controlled.

Use the Stroke Riskometer app for a free basic risk assessment. Answer some questions and the app will calculate your estimated risk of having a stroke within five and 10 years.

2. CHECK YOUR NUMBERS[hhmc]

Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke by up to four times.

If you have a blood pressure machine, start recording your blood pressure once or twice a week and share these records with your doctor.

Check your weight and use an online BMI calculator to work out your body mass index – the ideal BMI for Asians is between 18.5 and 22.9.

Measure your waist as well – using a tape, measure around the level of your belly button. For Asians, the target waist circumference is 90cm or less for men and 80cm or less for women.

3. PRIORITISE YOUR HEALTH[hhmc]

It is easy to skip health screenings when you are busy. But many stroke risk factors, including uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, have no warning signs.

Set a reminder on your mobile phone to book a health screening appointment when things return to normal.

4. QUIT SMOKING NOW[hhmc]

Smoking leads to serious health problems, including stroke. Smoking also reduces good HDL cholesterol, increases bad LDL cholesterol, is linked to high blood pressure and may trigger an irregular heartbeat condition – another risk factor of stroke.

Quit smoking and your risk of stroke will drop to that of a non-smoker within two to five years.

5. GET MOVING[hhmc]

Sitting down all day increases your risk of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Get active and aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. This could include:

• Taking the stairs instead of the lift, which also helps with social distancing.

• Using the time you would usually spend commuting to go for a walk or run.

• Getting fit at home for free. HealthHub.sg has a wide selection of exercise videos, including yoga, chair aerobics and kickboxing, with new videos released every day.

6. EAT RIGHT[hhmc]

Preparing your own meals puts you in control of the portion size and ingredients used.

Overindulging in foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt will increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes as well as obesity.

Avoid temptation – put unhealthy snacks out of sight, skip the chips and biscuits while grocery shopping and stock up on fresh fruit to snack on instead.

Also, beware of hidden salt in soya sauce, processed food, gravies and soups.

7. GET TO BED ON TIME[hhmc]

Busy working professionals tend to fill their daily schedules, often at the expense of a good night's sleep. Too little sleep is associated with the risk of stroke.

Try to sleep at least six to eight hours.

For a good night's rest, switch your mobile phone to silent mode and avoid using electronic devices before you sleep.

8. KEEP TAKING YOUR MEDS[hhmc]

If you are on medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and other medical conditions, it is important to continue taking them as prescribed by your doctor.

If your medications are running low, make an appointment to see your doctor or ask if there is a home delivery or pharmacy pick-up service you can use. 9. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK Studies have shown that as a person's stress levels rise, so too does his risk of having a stroke.

Stress can also aggravate high blood pressure and heart disease, while relying on cigarettes,Read More – Source

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