Healthbeat 4: Stroke prevention

Annually more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke — that’s according to the CDC

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and diabetes are the leading causes of a stroke.

Nicole Shea is the stroke program manager at Mercy Medical Center and says that 90% of strokes could be prevented — starting with a healthy diet.

"So following the Mediterranean diet, so you’re eating lower carbs, more fruits and vegetables," said Nicole Shea, Stroke Program Manager at Mercy Medical Center.

The FDA’s MyPlate program can also help adjust to healthy eating.

"You divide up your plate," said Shea, "And so a third it is fruit, a third is vegetables, a third of it is grains and a third of it is meat."

Sleep apnea is another big factor.

"You’re two times more likely to have a stroke if you have sleep apnea that’s not treated," said Shea, "If you have those risk factors for sleep apnea;  your family says, man you snore a lot or your spouse says, you stop breathing in your sleep. It’s really important to follow up with that because that really does increase your risk of heart attack and stroke."

Shea adds exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day can keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes under control.

While the total number of strokes has decreased over the years, the number of strokes between ages 20 and 40 has increased. 

"It’s really important to start when your children are young teaching these thing so when they become an adult, they already have that healthy lifestyle and we’ll start to see the number of strokes decreasing."

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