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Things Seniors Can Do To Reduce The Risk Of Stroke

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Caregivers Concern, Caregiving, Community, Stroke

Anyone of any age can suffer from stroke and whilst this is not specific to older adults, it is definitely more prevalent in seniors. High blood pressure and diabetes are known to be one of the leading causes of stroke and what this means is that it increases the likelihood of older adults suffering from stroke.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the risk of contracting stroke increases with age, with the incidence doubling with each decade after the age of 45 years and over 70% of all strokes occur above the age of 65.

Whilst we can’t predict the occurrence of a stroke, we can identify the salient risk factors and reduce the risk of stroke. In this article, we look at health strategies – behavioural habits, diets that seniors can adopt to reduce the risk of stroke. 


Maintaining a healthy diet

If you’ve heard of the phrase “you are what you eat”, you would know that this statement holds some truth and it is no wonder that many people still believe in this today! The food that we eat serves as fuel and nutrition for our body and adopting a healthy diet improves our overall health, reducing the possibility of a stroke occurrence. 

Maintaining a balanced diet with ample amounts of fruits and vegetables, cutting down on salt and sugar intake all leads to better health, reducing one’s risk of contracting stroke. 


Active lifestyle

We all know that keeping active is important – not only is it good for our joints, good for building strength but is also great for one’s mental health. Seniors might have more inhibitions in keeping fit due to pain, immobility and also the amount of support needed. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing health issues and as such increases the risk of getting a stroke. 

We previously covered an article on exercises for active ageing – covering a range of exercises that can be done from the comfort of one’s home, and with scalable options if one is unable to do the exercises. 


Active management of existing health ailments

If you have preexisting health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, it could mean that you are more predisposed to getting a stroke. The only way to effectively manage this aka not putting oneself at a higher risk is to actively manage existing health ailments. 

For patients with diabetes, it is important to keep your blood glucose levels in check and make sure it doesn’t spike. Similarly for patients with high blood pressure, constant medication and measuring blood pressure levels is a must to keep the condition in check. Seniors who have been living with these conditions for long periods of time might sometimes forget or find it too troublesome to do these, thus increasing the possibility of their conditions worsening. Do remember, always reach out for help – be it your caregivers or a healthcare professional if you need support. 


Reduce or eliminate smoking and alcohol consumption

Everyone knows that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of stroke. Smoking increases blood pressure and reduces oxygen in the blood, keeping in mind that high blood pressure is a major risk factor. Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 toxic chemicals which are deposited in the lungs or absorbed into the bloodstream damaging blood vessels.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage as alcohol inhibits the liver from making substances that help your blood to clot.

It is definitely not easy to quit these habits overnight but it takes time – speak to a healthcare professional if you are having issues ditching these habits. 



Some common tell-tale signs of stroke are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you suspect that you have a stroke or your loved one has a stroke, call 911 immediately or head to A&E to get immediate medical attention. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Though we have no way to eliminate the possibility of a stroke occurring, seniors can take active steps and adopt healthy habits to reduce the likelihood of getting a stroke. When in doubt, always consult a doctor and get professional medical advice. Caregivers can also step in to help seniors adopt these health strategies, so always remember that you are never alone – take charge of your health today!

About Growing Needs

About Growing Needs

Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.

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