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Stroke Prevention

Regular Medical Checkups

The foundation of good health begins with establishing regular routine visits with a doctor.  Your doctor may be able to detect early stages of cardiovascular disease and treat you before a stroke happens.Don't have a doctor? Use our Physician Finder to locate one!

Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, stop.  Smoking greatly increases your risk of having a stroke, regardless of age, sex, race or other medical factors.  By stopping smoking, you greatly reduce your chance of having a stroke.  The risk of having a stroke dramatically decreases within a few years of you quitting.

Control High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is often referred to as the "silent killer." If you have hypertension, even mild hypertension, this increases your risk for a stroke.  High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for stroke. Elevated blood pressure promotes atherosclerosis. This puts a lot of pressure on the blood vessel walls, which could result in a rupture at a weak spot in the wall.  It is important to check your blood pressure regularly. If you do have high blood pressure, good ways to try and control it are: exercise, weight control, stress management, medication, and a diet low in sodium. If you take medication, follow your physician's instructions. 

Improve Diet

Foods that are high in fat, salt and cholesterol increase the risk for stroke. Ask your doctor for more help in identifying your issues and to make appropriate decisions. 

  1. Avoid excess fat:  Diets high with a large amount of fat, especially saturated fat, and cholesterol may contribute to atherosclerosis.  Reduce dietary fat by limiting your intake of fat or oil added in cooking, trimming the fat and skin from meats and poultry, use non-fat or low-fat dairy products, broiling or baking food instead of frying and limiting your intake of eggs to no more than 3 per week.
  2. Avoid excess sodium:  Excessive amounts of salt in the diet could contribute to hypertension.  Most peoples primary source of salt is common table salt.  Try removing this from the dinner table and replace it with a salt substitute.  Also, when cooking or baking, limit the amount of salt used.  Eat fresh or frozen vegetables.  Canned vegetables contain high amounts of "hidden" salt.
  3. Avoid excess alcohol intake:  Having more than 2 drinks per day increases your risk of having a stroke. 


Maintain a Healthy Weight and Exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight and exercise go hand in hand.  In order for one to be effective, both need to be effective.  Being overweight puts strain on the vessels that carry blood to the brain and not exercising weakens those vessels.  Obesity increases a person's risk for diabetes and heart disease.  The percentage of fat in our bodies tends to increase with age and regular exercise helps to keep this at a minimum.  Always consult with your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine.  Together, you and the physician can develop a plan to maximize your exercise routine and weight loss plan.

Treat Diabetes

The circulatory problems that are a result of diabetes increase a person's risk for stroke. In order to reduce these problems, closely monitor your diabetes. This will not only reduce your risk for stroke, it will provide you with many more benefits.

Looking for help to control your diabetes? The FMH Diabetes Program can help!

Reduce Stress

Stress may increase blood pressure and by doing so, could increase your risk for a stroke. Long-term, unresolved stress could contribute to high blood pressure. It is important to practice good stress relief activities, such as exercise or counseling.

Treat Heart Disease

Some heart conditions could cause stroke. These include but are not limited to, heart attacks, heart valve disorders and irregular heart beats (atrial fibrillation).

By managing your lifestyle and controlling these risk factors, you could help to negate the effects of the risk factors you cannot control.  Make a choice to be stroke smart.  Frederick Regional Health System is dedicated to meeting your healthcare needs.  The FMH Wellness Center located in the Francis Scott Key Mall promotes healthier lifestyles by providing health education classes, health screenings and individual services. Also located at the Wellness Center is the Diabetes Center.  The clinicians with this program can teach you how to live well with diabetes. 


Time is critical when you or someone you know is having a Stroke.  Call 911 if you think you're having a stroke.

Act F.A.S.T.

 F ace  facial droop and uneven smile
 A rm  arm numbness and arm weakness
 S peech  slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding
 T ime  Call 911 and get to the hospital immediately
 

                   

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