A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is restricted in some way. Most happen because blood flow is cut off by a clot or narrowed arteries. A small percentage are caused by a blood vessel breaking and causing bleeding in the brain. A stroke can cause serious damage, disability, or even death. Luckily, experts say that about 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by taking the proper steps. Below are 4 ways your aging relative can lower their risk of stroke.
#1: Control Blood Pressure
The top cause of stroke is high blood pressure, responsible for about 50 percent of strokes. If your older family member hasn’t had their blood pressure checked lately, it’s important that they do. High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, so having it checked is the only way to know if it is too high. High blood pressure harms blood vessels in a couple of ways. It makes the walls of arteries thicker, which makes it easier for cholesterol and other debris to build up and narrow the artery. Another way high blood pressure can damage blood vessels is by making them weaker, which makes a ruptured blood vessel more likely.
An elderly care provider can remind your aging relative to take blood pressure medications and drive them to the doctor’s office for blood pressure checks.
#2: Lose Weight
Being overweight can cause many health problems and contributes to high blood pressure. Losing even a little weight can make a difference. Ask the senior’s doctor what a healthy weight would be for them. Then, help them to improve their diet and spend more time exercising.
An elderly care provider can prepare healthy meals and snacks as well as helping with increasing the senior’s physical activity.
#3: Quit Smoking
If your aging relative smokes, encourage them to quit. Using tobacco doubles their chances of having a stroke. Tobacco makes the blood sticky, which makes a clot more likely. It also allows plaque to build up on artery walls more easily.
Elderly care providers can offer encouragement while your loved one tries to quit smoking. When the urge to smoke strikes, an elderly care provider can offer a distraction.
#4: Manage Diabetes
When blood sugar isn’t kept under control, it increases the chances of a stroke by 2 to 4 times. High blood sugar can cause fatty deposits to build up in the arteries. This can cause arteries in the brain and neck to become narrow.
Elderly care providers can remind your aging relative to take medications for diabetes and to check their blood sugar regularly