Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one. Consider following these tips to achieve ideal health.
Don't Let Stroke Strike Twice
(Family Features) Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one.
While there are about 7.2 million stroke survivors in the United States, people who have had a stroke are at high risk of having another one. In fact, about one in every four stroke survivors will have a second one.
Efforts like Together to End Stroke, an American Stroke Association initiative, nationally sponsored by Bayer Aspirin, work to educate stroke survivors and caregivers about how they can avoid a second occurrence.
Because the consequences of a second stroke can be more detrimental than the first, it’s important to recognize the signs, which come on suddenly, and act quickly. An easy way to remember the most common warning signs is the acronym F.A.S.T., (F – face drooping, A – arm weakness, S – speech difficulty, T – time to call 911).
Talk to your doctor about medications that may help you with your stroke prevention efforts. For example, taking aspirin regularly or other blood clot prevention medications can help reduce the risk of another ischemic stroke.
Consider following the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “Life's Simple 7” to achieve ideal health:
Don't smoke. Smoking puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for your last cigarette and the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating starts with simple, healthy food choices. You don’t need to stop eating your favorite meals, just use substitutions to make them healthier. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and other eating occasions so you can confidently make healthy, delicious choices whenever and wherever you eat.
Maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. There’s no trick to losing weight and keeping it off, but the majority of successful people modify their eating habits and increase physical activity.
Control cholesterol. Having large amounts of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in the blood can cause build up and blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Reducing your fat intake, especially trans fats, often found in fried foods and baked goods, can help reduce your cholesterol. Adding more foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts, as well as soluble fiber and whey protein, helps in managing cholesterol.
Manage blood pressure. Nothing causes more strokes than uncontrolled high blood pressure. Of the 116.4 million people in the United States who have high blood pressure, fewer than half have it under control, putting them at increased risk of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure by 20 points could cut your risk of dying from stroke by half.
Control blood sugar. By managing your diabetes and working with your health care team, you may reduce your risk of stroke. Every two minutes, an adult with diabetes in the United States is hospitalized for stroke. At age 60, someone with type 2 diabetes and a history of stroke may have a life expectancy that is 12 years shorter than someone without both conditions.
For more information on how to prevent stroke, and a complete list of warning signs, visit strokeassociation.org/americanstrokemonth.
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American Stroke Association
(BPT) - Technology has influenced virtually every aspect of our lives. Arguably one of the biggest areas of change is in health care. From advanced surgical tools to early disease testing, every day new technology emerges in an effort to help people stay healthy and live longer. Wearable technology now puts information directly in the hands of the patient, helping people do everything from tracking steps to counting calories. Now, smartphone apps are getting even smarter, allowing physicians, patients and their loved ones if they choose, in-depth access to important health information in just a few finger taps.
Those in the diabetes community are embracing this new mobile technology enthusiastically to better manage their condition. Keeping a written logbook can be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating for patients. Now, critical diabetes information is easier to manage and understand with the Accu-Chek Connect(R) Diabetes Management System.
With test results automatically sent from the Accu-Chek Aviva Connect meter to an app on your smartphone and an online portal, people with diabetes are able to log, view and share data anytime, anywhere, without ever writing in a logbook. Thus, never worrying about forgetting to bring this information to their physicians for important visits. Rarely do we forget our phones. They can be lifelines in more ways than one.
“The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect helps to create a sense of confidence for the person who is trying to self-manage their condition,” says Dr. David Robertson, MD of Atlanta Diabetes Associates. “It can help demystify diabetes and bring a sense of order to a very complex condition that is a constant burden to patients.”
The system allows users to have text results sent automatically, plus you can attach meal photos, view trends and even use the app’s insulin calculator. Considering 91 percent of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach, it’s simple to track important information quickly and efficiently.
Beyond patient empowerment, technology like this better facilitates the patient-doctor relationship. Because the system loads all information into an online portal stored in the cloud, it can be accessed at any time by the physician if the patient chooses. This means a snapshot of the bigger picture is always available, whether in-person at an appointment or while the patient is on the other side of the world.
What’s more, the doctor can activate an insulin calculator in the app, the Accu-Chek Bolus Advisor, which makes it simple for patients to calculate how much insulin is needed at each meal. That means patients can enjoy their meals without worrying about the math.
“Perhaps no community is better suited for this type of advanced technology than the diabetes community,” says Dr. Robertson.
“Knowledge is power. This detailed information is incredibly helpful to physicians so we can spot trends and make informed decisions along with the patient. Technology here is the tool to success.”
Learn more about how technology is transforming the diabetes community by visiting accu-chek.com/connect. Accu-Chek Connect is available at Walgreens, Rite Aid and select Kroger locations.
Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain. To get a good night’s rest, take advantage of these tips and consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
Powering down before bed for a good night's rest
(Family Features) Checking email or flipping through channels instead of sleeping? Playing video games or browsing social media in bed? If you want to catch some quality ZZZs, you should put down that smartphone.
The National Sleep Foundation reports nearly 90 percent of adults sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom. However, staring at a screen after 9 p.m. can zap your body of energy, turning you into a zombie the next day. To get a good night's rest, consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
How Electronics Affect Your Sleep
Your body functions on a 24-hour internal clock. This clock is influenced by your physical environment and daily schedule. Using electronic devices around bedtime can throw off your body clock and negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Light and darkness affect your body clock. Staring at the blue glow of electronic devices - computers, tablets, televisions, gaming systems and/or smartphones - before bedtime can trick your body into thinking it's still daytime. The artificial light sends messages to the brain to wake up and activates the body. This, in turn, can reset your body clock, delaying your normal sleep cycle.
Studies show that staring at bright screens within four hours of bedtime reduces melatonin, a hormone that makes you naturally tired when it's time to sleep. This can cause difficulty when trying to fall asleep, poor quality of sleep or sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
In the long run, problems sleeping at night can impact you during the day. Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain.
It is important to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. To get a better night's sleep, experts recommend:
If your smartphone is your alarm clock, set your phone to sleep mode (do not disturb function) so all calls and texts will be silenced unless it's an emergency. Be sure to put your phone face down on the nightstand so incoming messages don't wake you up.
Power down tonight and don't let your technology keep you from a good night's rest.
Find more resources to help you get a better night's rest from Guard Your Health, a health education campaign by the Army National Guard, at guardyourhealth.com.
Night Time Stimulants to Avoid
While using electronic devices is one night time distraction, here are some other common things to avoid to get a good night's rest:
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man stretching)
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