Stroke is often thought of as something that happens to older people, but more people under 50 are having strokes due to increased risky behaviors, such as smoking and untreated high blood pressure. In recognition of World Stroke Day, consider these five tips to help reduce your risk of stroke and maintain mental sharpness as you age.
Tips to Improve Wellness and Prevent Stroke
(Family Features) Stroke is often thought of as something that happens to older people, but more people under 50 are having strokes due to increased risky behaviors, such as smoking and untreated high blood pressure.
Strokes don’t discriminate, according to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke. They can happen to anyone, at any age. About 1 in 4 people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. However, up to 80% of first strokes may be prevented.
“Healthy habits can protect and improve brain function and lower your stroke risk,” said Dr. Lee Schwamm, MD, American Stroke Association volunteer chairman and executive vice chairman, department of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In recognition of World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, the American Stroke Association offers these five tips to help reduce your risk of stroke and maintain mental sharpness as you age:
“These simple suggestions are great for everyone to follow, even if you don’t think you’re likely to have a stroke,” Schwamm said. “While many adults don’t think they are at risk for stroke or reduced brain function, the reality is that nearly half of all adults in America have high blood pressure, and untreated high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of stroke and also causes up to 60% of dementia.”
For more information and tips for preventing stroke, visit Stroke.org/WorldStrokeDay.
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American Heart Association
Everyone knows that a good night's sleep gives you energy, reduces levels of mental health disorders, and gives the body time to repair itself. In addition to the more obvious benefits, there are a host of lesser-known advantages that solid rest provides. Here are three surprising things that a good night of sleep can do for you.
May Prevent Cancer
Research has shown that inadequate sleep may lead to certain types of cancer. Experts believe that too much light exposure reduces the amount of melatonin in the body. It is this hormone that regulates your body's natural circadian rhythm and protects against cancer by suppressing tumor growth. You can help your body to produce quality levels of melatonin by keeping your bedroom dark and by limiting the use of electronic devices before going to sleep.
Help You Lose Weight
People who do not get enough sleep each night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is believed that this happens because inadequate sleep negatively affects the natural balance of hormones in the body that impact the appetite. A lack of solid sleep disrupts the hormones ghrelin and leptin. It is these two hormones that affect your appetite. Getting a full night's rest even helps with overeating. A body that is deprived of adequate sleep will produce more cortisol, causing you to crave more food. Making an effort to stay true to your body's natural sleep cycle will help you to keep off the pounds.
That fogginess in your brain may be attributed to a lack of sleep. Research has shown that sleep plays a critical role in the retention of memories. While your body is resting when you sleep, your brain is actually working in overdrive processing the events of the day, making connections, and sorting emotions. This all happens when your body enters the deep sleep phase. Without this regular deep sleep, your brain is not able to function at optimum levels. Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night will assist your brain in remembering and processing things more accurately.
Making the effort to get a good night's sleep will pay off big dividends for the future of your health. Not only are the short-term effects of good physical health a result of solid rest, but the long-term effects will also improve your overall quality of life and longevity.
Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but sleep problems – such as sleep apnea, which is a serious breathing disorder that causes you to snore loudly and stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night – can hinder sleep quality and lead to other severe health complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, erectile dysfunction, acid reflux, diabetes and stroke. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea and could be at risk for these health complications, see a doctor to discuss your sleep problems and treatment options.
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