Prevent stroke: 7 steps

1. Top 3 reasons for having a stroke? High blood pressure, high blood pressure and high blood pressure [ref. 1].

Your blood pressure, if normal, can protect you – here is how.

Source: PHE 0917

One person in every 3 adults has high blood pressure. This can lead to heart diseases, strokes, dementia [42] and kidney diseases. Half those who have high blood pressure are not receiving any treatment [33]. Important for your health, so next page is about how to manage your blood pressure better.

[Source: Public Health England, Jan. 2017]

2. Check your own risk of a stroke or heart disease in next 10 years

Want to do it now?  Takes just a few minutes, using latest UK research and tool QRisk 3‘ developed by doctors & researchers in the UK NHS, based on data from many thousands of doctors [2017, ref. 16].

3. Prevent strokes: 7 steps

Stop sign

3.1. If you smoke, stop now, using a free NHS local stop smoking service. Stop smoking options: Public Health England guidance, August 2018. Almost as important a cause of strokes as high blood pressure. Smoking one cigarette per day carries a risk of heart disease and stroke much greater than expected: around half that for people who smoke 20 per day. No safe level of smoking exists for heart and stroke diseases. So quit instead of cutting down [45]. Within four to five years of quitting smoking, stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker [WHO].

3.2.  Improve your lifestyle, with a healthier diet, less alcohol,  more exercise, (so lose weight!), cut down on caffeine, reduce the salt you eat, and, get a good night’s sleep. “Lifestyle management is the main reason for high blood pressure, and we have to get to grips with it.” [Nov. 2017, 35]

3.3. If also at risk of diabetes, follow how to prevent yourself getting diabetes. If you already have diabetes, better blood sugars reduce your risks of a stroke [4].

Old man3

3.4. Want to know more about preventing yourself having a stroke, what it is like to have a stroke and its problems?  Look at Jim Whyte’s video story.

3.5.  See your GP if:

  • You notice a sudden change in your heartbeat, and if your heart beat rate is often lower than 60 or above 100 beats per minute.
  • Or if you’re experiencing other symptoms of ‘AF’, such as dizziness or shortness of breath see NHS guide.

3.6.  Go to hospital very quickly after a suspected stroke. The NHS tells you about tests in hospital to confirm the diagnosis, find the cause, and brain scans to find which part of the brain is affected [42]. Everyone with suspected stroke should receive a brain scan within an hour.

3.7. Look at other often asked questions & answers about stroke. Put agreed actions in your personal health plan.

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page updated 21 April 2020.  © 2020 social enterprise Diabetes-cutmyrisks.co.uk.™ Ltd.

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